Welcome to another edition of 2013 MLB Season Preview – Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy.
With the baseball season just a few weeks away, we’ll go through the roster of every MLB team and break it down from a daily fantasy baseball standpoint. Which players can help your team win, and which ones will you want to avoid in the first couple of weeks?
We are heading down to sunny Florida to take a look at the Tampa Bay Rays, the next team in our previews.
The Rays finished last season with 90 wins, good only for third place in the AL East, behind the Yankees and the Orioles. They’ve made quite a few moves this offseason, the headliner being the trade sending both James Shields and Wade Davis to KC for one of the best MLB prospects in Will Myers and others. They are also coming into this season having added three new players in the infield -Yunel Escobar (trade), Kelly Johnson and James Loney (both free agency). The Rays are one of the best organizations when it comes to developing young players, and they will need to do just that to find themselves in the postseason in the challenging AL East.
David Price – SP: Price is coming off an AL Cy Young winning season where he won 20 of his 31 starts, and posted a 2.56 ERA in 211 innings. He has been really consistent the last three years, and his strikeout numbers are very strong at 8.7 K/9. You can expect to pay a premium salary for him, but you have a pretty good idea what you paying for.
Desmond Jennings – CF: Jennings hit .246/.314/.388 last year in his first full MLB season. While these numbers aren’t great they should keep his price low enough to make him a good fantasy play. I love his base stealing potential (31 SB and 2 CS last year), and sneaky power (13 HR in 2012). He will be an exciting pick if his salary lands somewhere in the lower-middle tier.
Evan Longoria – 3B: Longoria is one of the star hitters in this league, and he bounced back from a poor 2011 season to hit .289/.369/.527 in 74 games last year. His April splits are even better than his season averages, and that will make him one of the safest high priced players in the first couple weeks of the season.
Matt Joyce – LF: Joyce is one of the surprise “good plays” because he hit just .241/.341/.429 last season, and that’s not exactly what we are looking for with daily fantasy plays. The reason Joyce made it into this section is his great April splits the last two seasons. He hit .294/.368/.618 last April and .321/.384/.500 in April 2011. This makes him one of the best sleepers for the first month of the season.
Matt Moore – SP: Moore is another great young starting pitcher who came up through the Rays organization. He posted a 3.81 ERA in 31 starts in his rookie season, and also had an 8.9 K/9 ratio. He has a good chance to improve on these numbers this year and he should be priced reasonably, making him a good daily fantasy play.
YOU SHOULD AVOID
Yunel Escobar – SS: Escobar is coming off a down season, both on and off the field. He hit just .253/.300/.344 for the Blue Jays, and showed his problematic personality when he appeared with a homophobic slur in his eye-black in September. He was traded from Toronto to Miami, and finally landed in Tampa. You just can’t trust him in daily fantasy.
Luke Scott – DH: Scott is a power hitter with a low batting average, and OBP who can hurt your team more than help it. He hit just .226/.291/.424 in 160 games over the last two years, and also strikes out quite a bit. He will hit his homeruns, but he’ll also end up with negative points on multiple occasions.
Kelly Johnson – 2B: Johnson struggled the last two years after his great season in 2010. He hit just .228/.308/.390 over that span with ton of strikeouts (3.17 AB/K), and he doesn’t even have as much power as Scott. This makes him one of the worst choices from a daily fantasy standpoint, and I wouldn’t consider playing him at any cost until we see his performance improve.
Ben Zobrist – RF: Zobrist is not a player you would expect in the “avoid” section because he has been a very good hitter the last two years, but his April splits say otherwise. He only hit .205/.364/.423 last April on his way to .270/.377/.471 season line, and his numbers in prior Aprils are also pretty weak. If this trend continues he should be a great play later in the season, but there will be better options for similar prices in the first couple month.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Tampa Bay Rays preview, and stay tuned for other 2013 MLB Season Previews. Also, don’t forget to check out our other articles at Daily Fantasy Radio.