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Fantasy baseball player profiles: Tampa Bay Rays

Fantasy baseball player profiles: Tampa Bay Rays

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Quick Jump: Fantasy Baseball Player Profiles

1 Dioner Navarro, C, Tampa Bay Rays
2 Kelly Shoppach, C, Tampa Bay Rays
3 Carlos Pena, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays
4 Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays
5 Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
6 Jason Bartlett, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
7 Willy Aybar, IF, Tampa Bay Rays
8 Desmond Jennings, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
9 Gabe Kapler, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
10 Matt Joyce, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
11 B.J. Upton, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
12 Carl Crawford, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
13 Wade Davis, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
14 Jeff Niemann, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
15 David Price, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
16 Matt Garza, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
17 James Shields, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
18 Rafael Soriano, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
19 J.P. Howell, RP, Tampa Bay Rays

Dioner Navarro, C, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
368409815490.266.328.421.749

With Dioner Navarro's decent line-drive capacity, you would think he'd hit better than .218. Walks would help. His 2008 BABIP (.321) shouldn't be your expectation. He'll split time with the more offensively intriguing Kelly Shoppach, too. There is probably room for some small growth, but not enough to earn him mixed-league attention until after the draft.


Kelly Shoppach, C, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
000000.000.000.000.000

Though Dioner Navarro will probably have more duty, Kelly Shoppach carries the bigger fantasy intrigue. You're getting homers with him - love the increasing patience and line-drive rate, too. His dropping flyballs take some luster away, but if you can deal with PT almost exclusively vs. lefties, Shoppach can pass a low-end AL No. 2. 


Carlos Pena, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
741015270.203.330.324.654

Carlos Pena missed 25 games to end the year and STILL won the AL homer crown; he should be ready for Spring Training after breaking two fingers. He walks a ton but rarely puts the ball on the ground or on a laser, making his slumps grotesque. That being said, his middle-round power is nearly unmatched if you can compensate elsewhere.


Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
56979156147213.274.358.427.785

In Ben Zobrist's first season as a starter, Zobrist was more aggressive on the base paths and made another big batting eye jump. He posted a homer-to-flyball rate similar to his part-time duty in '08, and his second-half normalization didn't send him off the cliff. His BABIP and batting average will probably re-enter reality, but elsewhere this looks like the start of a late growth based on increased PT. Take advantage of skepticism-lowered prices, as long as you minimize risk.


Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
5778516030842.277.356.508.864

Evan Longoria expanded on rookie year in first full MLB campaign while sustaining positive indicators; he finished strong. A slight drop in contact isn't worrisome because he's taking walks. Longoria's offseason conditioning program may lead to more swipes. He's arriving. 


Jason Bartlett, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
000000.000.000.000.000

Jason Bartlett started using bigger wood in BP; his BABIP and power soared. Signs of maturity in his third full-time season? That .368 BABIP is a bit unbelievable without many grounders, and while he has a knack for liners, that 26.0 percentage is primed for a comedown. Even with his new warmup routine, the 30-year-old won't club 14 homers again, but the boom won't just disappear entirely. If his doubt discount grows, don't be afraid.


Willy Aybar, IF, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
000000.000.000.000.000

Carlos Pena's fractured digits led to more Aybar time. Aybar makes hard contact despite his dropping flyball rate. He's eligible at first, second and third in many leagues, making him a roster capper in AL setups. With a few breaks (sorry, Carlos), Aybar could again have spurts of deep mixed relevance, too.


Desmond Jennings, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
55786145165629.260.340.424.764

A potential Matt Joyce-Gabe Kapler platoon stands in his way, but Desmond Jennings will have a shot to win a starting job this spring. Jennings' average should translate well, but his most MLB-ready commodity is his stolen base ability. Focus on the rooks that can specialize in one roto category; he's a tuck-away commodity in deep leagues and warrants a reach for stash-friendly AL leagues.


Gabe Kapler, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
000000.000.000.000.000

We may see Gabe Kapler build on his late-blooming homer potential - flyballs and liners up, grounders down, for what it's worth in his limited skill set. Expect a platoon with Matt Joyce, at least to start; Kapler, 34, can't hit righties. AL-only drafters can't sleep on Kaps, but remember Desmond Jennings could throw a wrench into this.


Matt Joyce, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
396549717606.245.340.437.777

Matt Joyce stalled last year, but the big lefty bat has power potential, and Tampa will probably test it out by having him lead their right-field platoon. Gabe Kapler draws the short straw but may be a factor. Joyce is a gamble for homers in the final rounds of deeps.


B.J. Upton, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
49352115185021.233.311.394.705

Though B.J. Upton lagged in second-half plate discipline, the elder Upton, 25, turned up the speed to compensate. He hit more flies - a nice sign following his injury-related, homer-sapped 2008. His stolen base production is already cemented; waiting for him to leave the yard more won't be much of a sacrifice and might turn out to be one of the most productive gambles in all of baseball.


Carl Crawford, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
4967613694220.274.321.415.736

Carl Crawford bounced back from a finger injury in '08, returning to his ridiculous steal elite-itude. What was also ridiculous: his 10.3 HR/FB, which gives one pause in the speedster's dropping flyball rates. What if that normalizes? Banking on a huge growth this year is a pipe dream, but his contact, larceny, runs and clip should keep flowing.


Wade Davis, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
4270532529753.211.17

The next in a line of polished, nurtured Rays prospects, Wade Davis shined in his six-start stint last year, showing mature command. His innings won't be limited even with the No. 5 rotation job. Davis is a high-level deep-league arm that's worth grabbing a round early in the final stanzas.


Jeff Niemann, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

The innings-eating Jeff Niemann was efficient for most of his rookie season. The whiff isn't his best friend yet, but his September growth shows what he can do; employing his newfound splitter more often may help their relationship. He'll need to quell line drives to give us more confidence, but Niemann can still round out a deep mixed staff with more upside than most of his late-round competition. He's a No. 3 AL-only arm, too.


David Price, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
15020518568441792.991.12

In '09, the lefty had some rough patches and ignored his slider a bunch. The Ray of hope came in his improved fastball command as the year went on. Tampa Bay coaches feel David Price is still growing into his frame; his post-July performance might have jump-started that. Seeing what Price can carry over into his first full MLB season offers one of the biggest profit opportunities among midrange roto pitchers. 


Matt Garza, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
11017617173531573.731.27

Matt Garza continues to embrace his heat and ease off his breaking stuff a bit more. Too bad his teammates didn't offer enough support for his second-half growth and exploding dominance to shine brighter. A slight flyball uptick after the break throws a wrench into the love fest, but there's even more breakout potential in the weeds if he can slice his walks.


James Shields, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
15022020682611913.351.21

James Shields' armor fails on the road, and K's are a luxury to him. The walks are starting to climb. His main asset is innings; he's crafty, and even his rising walks still leave him with a solid command ratio. He's a safe mixed No. 2 roto starter.


Rafael Soriano, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
33562602419533.481.27

Rafael Soriano will close for Tampa coming off a career year. J.P. Howell may steal some closure, though the lefty doesn't do well against his own kind. Soriano's career year hit a shoulder-related speed bump - he's no stranger to injuries - but he trusted his heat again and added a cutter. Making him your top stopper adds risk, though.


J.P. Howell, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
000000.000.000.000.000

After rising from the cluster of multiple options, J.P. Howell became the lead stopper. This year, he'll be the main understudy to Rafael Soriano; there's slight hope for Howell, because Soriano has an extensive history (including last year). Howell's K rate has climbed in every season despite his soft stuff, but he still has control problems. He'll also miss the first month or so of the season with shoulder fatigue. He might see the occasional chance here and there if Soriano is healthy, but without save chances, Howell is not much better than a waiver wire reliever. Don't overvalue him.