The Tampa Bay Rays shocked the world last year by making the World Series before finally losing to the Phillies. This year, the Rays won’t be able to sneak up on anyone. Tampa Bay has what many major league experts believe to be the best core of young players in all of baseball. Let’s take a look at five Rays you should get in your keeper leagues:
1. David Price- Price showed a tiny glimpse of just how great he will be in the playoffs last year by coming in and nailing down the American League Championship for the team. Price has a devastating fastball that moves away from right handers and has a very nasty slider that he uses as a strikeout pitch. David Price will be a top notch starting pitcher for at least a decade if he stays healthy.
2009 Projected Stats 170 IP 15 wins and an ERA of 3.44
2. Evan Longoria- Longoria would be first on almost any other team’s list of keepers. Longoria has a sweet stroke and showed it in last season’s magical playoff run. Longoria hit 27 home runs last year despite playing only 122 games. You can be sure he’ll see more playing time this year and he will produce in a big way.
2009 Projected Stats- .285 average 36 home runs 111 runs batted in
3. Scott Kazmir- While Kazmir has already established himself as a top of the line starter, he just now turned 25 years old, so he could very well have a decade of domination in front of him. Opponents hit just .220 off of him last year and his strikeout numbers help your team in a big way.
2009 Projected Stats- 188 IP 16 Wins 3.29 ERA
4. B.J. Upton- Upton actually saw his numbers decline quite a bit last season, hitting only 9 home runs and batting .273. In the playoffs Upton heated up and I would expect a player that is just 24 years old to be able to find his stroke once again. Upton brings a nice blend of power, speed, and a good on base percentage.
2009 Projected Stats- .291 average 18 home runs 82 runs batted in and 47 stolen bases
5. Jacob McGee- McGee hasn’t pitched in the major leagues yet, but he’ll get a chance soon and he’ll be yet another great lefty for the Rays. If McGee can keep his walks down he can go deep into a game and be very dominate. Expect to hear a lot from Jake McGee in the future.
2009 Projected Stats- (Dependant on if he stays in Majors or is in Triple A) 90 IP 7 wins and an ERA of 4.32
The Rays are absolutely stacked with keepers so keep these guys in mind when drafting in your fantasy baseball keeper league.