Daily Dr. Roto—March 27
Fantasy Preview in a Nutshell: Tampa Bay Rays
Players to Watch
C.J. Cron — Few people remember that Cron was one of the most highly touted Angels prospects from the past decade. He never really exploded in Los Angeles, but now his trade to Tampa gives him an opportunity to resurrect his moribund career. Cron pummels LHP and will most certainly start every day when a left-hander is on the mound. However, I am excited to see him get an opportunity to play against RHP. If Cron can gets 500 at bats this season I think he could easily go 20-80 in the middle of the Rays lineup.
Kevin Kiermaier — People always seem to overlook Kiermaier which is a big mistake. Kiermaier has 20-20 potential if he can stay off the DL. Kiermaier is such a good defensive player that he always seems to try to make a crazy play that gets him injured for a few weeks. He’s been working on a new batting stance in spring training and I think that he will see improved results this year at the plate. Just because the Rays are bad doesn’t mean that all their players are bad. If Kiermaier was a Yankee, he’d be an 8th round pick. That should tell you how underrated his is and why you need to draft him.
Mallex Smith — Outside of Dee Gordon, I think that Mallex Smith might be the AL Stolen Base Leader in 2018. Even better, is that as opposed to Gordon, Smith is hardly known by most people in home leagues and you should be able to sneak him on your team towards the end of your draft.
Chris Archer — I am a big Archer fan, but I do worry that he won’t win more than 10 games because this team is so dreadful. Outside of wins, Archer’s ERA blew up the last two seasons due to his giving up too many home runs, but I think that is something that he can curtail this season. Many Fantasy owners are drafting Archer in like the 4th round which I understand, but I think might be too high if he plays all season in Tampa. However, if Tampa deals Archer to a contender it could lead him to a potential Cy Young Award. As a high stakes player, I look at risk/reward and see how a player can potentially help me win. I think the risk for Archer may be high, but the reward even higher.
Blake Snell — Look for Snell to be a version of Robbie Ray-light this season. He is going to have over 200Ks, but I do expect him to have an ERA of around 4.00 and even some games where he gets completely shelled. That said, Snell is getting closer and closer to becoming a star. Some pitchers just take time to figure it out and I think Snell falls into that category. Draft him this year and hope for the best but be ready to scream on those nights when he gets lit up.
Jake Faria — Next in line of the Rays great young pitchers is Faria. I like his stuff and his makeup, but I am still not sure he is ready to to be a top of the line AL starter. Although it was only spring training, I watched Faria gets crushed by the Boston Red Sox left-handed hitting lineup. I like Faria in keeper leagues, but in redraft leagues, I would avoid the hype as I think he is at least a year away.
Alex Colome — Colome was one of the top relief pitchers in the AL last season, but those of you who play in AL-only leagues might want to be careful before drafting him this season. The Rays are always looking to cut salary and the rumor is that Colome might be the first player jettisoned out of town when the Rays raise the white flag. If that happens, he could easily end up in the National League, and potentially, not as a closer. Because of this possibility (and I would think it is more probable than possible) I would wait until the 16-18th rounds to draft Colome. That might mean that I don’t get him on any of my teams, but I am ok with that considering the Rays could screw me by trading him.
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