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2022 Fantasy Baseball: Tampa Bay Rays Team Outlook

Player profiles, stats and analysis for Tampa Bay Rays hitters and pitchers.

Over the last three seasons, the Rays have been the best team in the AL East. They won their division in 2020 and 2021 with a combined record of 140-82 (326-220 since 2018). Tampa led the American League in ERA (3.67), supported by a top bullpen (58 wins, 32 losses, 42 saves and a 3.24 ERA – 3rd). They also finished second in runs scored (857), outscoring the Blue Jays (846) and Red Sox (829). In addition, the Rays pushed to sixth in home runs (222) while swiping 88 bases (seventh).

Their big splash in free agency was the signing of SP Corey Kluber. The Rays traded 3B Joey Wendle to Miami for OF Kameron Misner. They lost DH Nelson Cruz, RP Collin McHugh, SP Michael Wacha (BOS) and SP Chris Archer to free agency. Tampa also locked up SS Wander Franco for the next 11 seasons.

Even with the loss of SP Tyler Glasnow to TJ surgery, the Rays have an elite class of arms to fill out their starting rotation. Rarely will their starters pitch over six innings, and their young developing aces have many short outings. Overall, Tampa has the best pitching in the AL East.

Their bullpen is full of players acquired from other franchises while lacking a stud foundation closer. The Rays continue to piece together the last three innings of games; it will be their Achilles heel one of these years.

Wander Franco has the feel of a generational player, and he will be fun to watch over the next decade. Tampa’s top four hitters have a high ceiling. However, the team still lacks a proven power clean-up bat, which Nelson Cruz provided in 2021. I’m not a fan of the back of their starting lineup, so Tampa should regress in runs scored this season.

Tampa has not won the World Series in the team’s 24-year history, but they believe it is their time to make a run at the Yankees for the most championships in baseball history.

Aug 27, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco (5) at bat against the Baltimore Orioles during the third inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Starting Lineup

2B Brandon Lowe

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Coming into 2021, Lowe has the look of a risk/reward power hitter based on his high strikeout rate (29.9) over his first 618 at-bats in the majors. He finished the year with strength in his walk rate (11.1) while shaving off some strikeouts (27.2) from his career average. His bat has been exceptional with runners on base over the past two seasons (RBI rate – 18) while offering a home run favoring average hit rate (2.121).

Lowe had an empty start to his season over his first 208 at-bats (.188 with 31 runs, 10 home runs and 25 RBI) while striking out 76 times. For the remainder of the year, he hit .284 with 66 runs, 29 home runs, 74 RBI over 327 at-bats. Over this stretch, he lowered his strikeout rate to 24.4%.

Despite 10 home runs and 27 RBI over 172 at-bats against lefties, Lowe only hit .198 with 64 strikeouts. If he struggles, Lowe could lose playing time vs. left-handed pitching. His swing path delivers plenty of fly balls (44.0%), leading to a rising HR/FB rate (24.1 – career-best). He finished with a top-tier barrel rate (14.0 – 33rd), but his hard-hit rate (43.1 – 101st) was less impressive.

Fantasy Outlook

Lowe currently sits eighth at second base (ADP – 82) in the early draft season in the NFBC. His game is all about power, which is also key to his success in runs and RBI. However, with a lead spot in the batting order, he’ll never repeat his RBI production based on his 2021 RBI chances (346). I trust 30-plus home runs with some value in runs. His batting average shouldn’t be an asset.

OF Austin Meadows

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Meadows went from a difference-maker in 2019 to a bust the following season. He regained his power stroke in 2021, highlighted by his average hit rate (1.959), and Meadows did a spectacular job with runners on base (RBI rate – 20.4). Despite his best approach in the majors (strikeout rate – 20.6 and walk rate – 10.0), his contact batting average (.306) became a significant issue.

Left-handed pitchers held him to a .198 batting average with three home runs and 25 RBI over 167 at-bats. In 2019, Meadows belonged in the starting lineup vs. lefties (.275/9/32 over 167 at-bats). He drove in 57 runners from May through July, but Meadows only played well in May (.258/19/9/28 over 97 at-bats). His best asset for power was his launch angle (21.7 – 7th), leading to a massive fly ball swing (53.0%) but a dainty HR/FB rate (12.6).

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Fantasy Outlook

There is clearly something wrong with Meadows’ wiring at the plate over the past two years. He looks to be on a quest to hit the ball out of the park, but too many swings lead to weak outs in the outfield, thus the fade in his contact batting average. Nevertheless, I’ll give checkmarks for his approach and feistiness in big moments with runners on base. With an ADP of 134, Meadows had a boom-or-bust feel. His talent screams upside, which starts with a more balanced swing path. So in spring training, we watch for signs to help our decision on him.

OF Randy Arozarena

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After playing well over three seasons in the minors (.292 with 201 runs, 38 home runs, 151 RBI and 61 steals over 1,129 at-bats), Arozarena finally earned a starting job in the majors in 2020. He flashed power (seven home runs over 63 at-bats) in September before shifting into a much higher gear in the postseason (29-for-77 with 19 runs, 10 home runs and 14 RBI).

Entering the 2021 draft season, fantasy managers had a mental debate whether Arozarena could support his short-term success. He finished the year as the 35th-ranked hitter by SIscore (3.26). Arozarena had weakness in his strikeout rate (28.2) while posting an above-average walk rate (9.3). His contact average (.404) showed repeating ability, but his power surge in 2020 was missing in action.

Arozarena didn’t have one explosive month. He did shine against left-handed pitching (.302/10/22 over 202 at-bats). Part of his low output in power came from his ground ball swing path (49.0%). Arozarena bailed out his season in stolen bases in September (8).

Fantasy Outlook

With an entire season to evaluate Arozarena, fantasy owners gave him an ADP of 58 in the early NFBC draft season. He’s the 38th hitter selected, fitting his final 2021 stats. I’m a fan of players with balanced skill sets, and I could see him push higher in home runs with a little more loft. Possible .290 with 90 runs, 25 home runs, 90 RBI and 25 steals.

SS Wander Franco

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Over three short seasons in the minors (830 at-bats), Franco hit .331 with 159 runs, 27 home runs, 145 RBI and 27 stolen bases. He made the move from High A in 2019 to AAA in 2021 (no minor league baseball in 2020) with relative ease (.313/31/7/35/4 over 163 at-bats), earning him a call up to the majors on June 22.

With the Rays, he finished with a .288 batting average with 53 runs, seven home runs, 39 RBI and two steals over 281 at-bats. Pitchers struggled to strike him out (12.0%) while showing a major-league average walk rate (7.8 – 10.2 in the minors). Franco was a beast with runners on base (RBI rate – 19.4). However, he still needs to learn how to drive the ball based on his line-drive-producing launch angle (9.7 – 233rd) and low HR/FB rate (8.3 – 13.7 at AAA).

His swing played well against lefties (.357 over 98 at-bats with four home runs and 16 RBI). Over his final 164 at-bats with Tampa, Franco hit .323 with 37 runs, four home runs and 25 RBI while handling himself well in the playoffs (7-for-19 with five runs, two home runs and four RBI).

Fantasy Outlook

Entering his second season with Tampa at age 21, Franco needs 2,919 hits to reach 3,000, which will come in the 2038 season at the latest. His swing and approach point to him being a top player in batting average throughout his career. Franco has high upside in power, but it will take him a couple of seasons to find his home run swing path. He’ll chip in with some steals, but he is not blessed with impact speed. His defense should push him to second base at some point in his career. I view him as a similar player to Juan Soto in approach. His ADP (54) priced him as the 50th hitter drafts, requiring him to post a season better than Yuli Gurriel (.319/83/15/81 over 530 at-bats – he ranked 52rd by SIscore in 2021). For a fantasy manager looking for a Ferrari (don’t miss his ride), you can expect Franco to hit .320 with 100-plus runs, 20-plus home runs, 100-plus RBI and about 10 steals, and that may be his floor in 2021.

1B Ji-Man Choi

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Over four seasons with Tampa, Choi hit .249 with 127 runs, 41 home runs, and 151 RBI over 950 at-bats. He started 2021 on the injured list after having right knee surgery in late March. Late in the year, he missed time with groin and hamstring issues.

His bat was worthless against left-handed pitching (13-for-70 with no home runs and five RBI). Choi has a respectable HR/FB rate (18.6 – 17.7 in his career).

Fantasy Outlook

Last November, the Rays signed him to a minimal contract ($3.2 million for one season). Tampa must sign another free agent option to play first base after the lockout. Choi has no starting fantasy value.

OF Josh Lowe

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Lowe won’t draw much attention this draft season based on his five seasons in the minors (.261 with 293 runs, 59 home runs, 268 RBI and 103 stolen based over 1,931 at-bats). He brings a plus arm, excellent speed and defense. His walk rate (11.4) paints upside to his approach once Lowe cleans up his strikeout rate (26.6). I His

With 111 games under his belt at AAA (.291/76/22/78/26 over 402 at-bats), he looks ready to try his luck against major league pitching. His average hit rate (1.838) continued to rise along with his contact batting average (.419).

Fantasy Outlook

Austin Meadows should see most of his playing time at DH if Tampa doesn't add another proven major-league bat, giving Lowe a better chance to win a starting job. His base skill set in power and steals already project higher than Kevin Kiermaier and Manny Margot. I see many down days, but the talent to deliver a 70/15/70/25 type season if given a starting job for 480 at-bats. At the very least, he could be a possible speed out if given a starting opportunity. Lowe has an ADP of 458 in the NFBC in mid-January.

OF Manuel Margot

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Margot has never had over 500 at-bats in his five seasons in the majors. He continues to have a low contact batting average (.305), with a shallow average hit rate (1.505). Before the All-Star break last season, Margot appeared to be on a higher path in home runs (9) and steals (9) over 270 at-bats, but he came up empty over his final 151 at-bats (.258/23/1/13/4). In addition, Margot missed a couple of weeks in July with a hamstring issue.

His best value came against lefties (.273/23/4/22 over 187 at-bats). He has a low flyball rate (35.5) while never having a HR/FB rate over 9.8. Margot only barreled the ball 5.1 percent of the time in 2021.

Fantasy Outlook

Based on his balanced skill set, albeit a low ceiling, he has a bench ADP (375). Margot will split time in centerfield while not having the production to secure a full-time corner outfield position. Tampa prefers Kevin Kiermaier’s glove, so his opportunity remains cloudy. At best, 60/15/60/15 if Margot secures 480 at-bats.

3B Yandy Diaz

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Diaz finished with his best season in the majors, but he didn’t show one area of fantasy strength other than his approach (strikeout rate – 15.7 and walk rate – 12.8). In addition, his contact batting average (.313) barely had a pulse, while his average hit rate (1.513) remains in a weak power hitting area. He drove in 20 runs in September despite hitting only .244 with four home runs.

His swing path delivers a high ground ball rate (51.8 – 54.1 in his career) due to the 282nd-ranked launch angle (6.6 percent). Diaz played well against lefties (.288/6/25 over 191 at-bats).

He is a career .311 hitter in the minors with 26 home runs, 224 RBI and 25 steals over 1,879 at-bats. Over the last four seasons, Diaz handled himself at AAA (.319 with 15 HRs, 118 RBI and eight SBs over 1,036 at-bats).

Fantasy Outlook

Diaz has a placeholder feel for Tampa at third base. He looks the part of a decent major bat at the plate, but his results come up short more often than not. The bottom line for him is getting the ball in the air with more authority or watch the game on many days from the bench. At best, a bench flier in deep formats.

C Mike Zunino

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There isn’t a player in baseball with a higher average hit rate (2.583) while having a colossal flyball swing (54%) and HR/FB rate (30.3). Zunino continues to have a high strikeout rate (35.2), with a willingness to take walks (9.1%).

Over 50% of his runs and RBI came via his home runs. He went to the plate with only 219 runners on base. Surprisingly, Zunino was a beast against left-handed pitching (.342 with 16 home runs and 30 RBI over 114 at-bats).

Fantasy Outlook

His power drives his ADP (255) as the 15th catcher drafted. He will continue to see most of the at-bats for Tampa against lefties, but Zunino could very well whiff his way to fewer at-bats. Pretty much one-stop shopping for power behind the plate that will drag your batting average.

Bench Options

C Francisco Mejia

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Over seven years in the minors, Mejia hit .295 with 58 home runs, 325 RBI and 18 stolen bases over 1,988 at-bats. He handled himself well at AA in 2017 (.297 with 14 home runs and 52 RBI over 347 at-bats) with almost repeated value at AAA (.302 with 18 home runs and 80 RBI over 490 at-bats). His walk rate (6.5) was below the minor league average, with strength in his strikeout rate (16.0).

Mejia failed to secure a starting role for the Padres or Rays over the past three seasons. He hit .249 over this span with 63 runs, 15 home runs and 63 RBI, which would be worthy of a C1 fantasy job if Mejia produced these stats over one season.

His strikeout rate (17.7) was the best of his career while also showing growth in his walk rate (6.1). Tampa never gave him over 50 at-bats in any month. Mejia ranked 290th in hard-hit rate (28.9) last season, resulting in a 4.4% barrel rate.

Fantasy Outlook

Mejia doesn’t look ready to seize a starting catching job for the Rays. He needs to make harder contact while improving his HR/FB rate (7.1). His ADP (397) prices him borderline C2 in 15-team leagues. Mejia is more of a watch in season than target on draft day.

2B Vidal Brujan

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Last year, Tampa gave Brujan 26 at-bats, but he only had two hits, no walks and eight strikeouts. Over six seasons in the minors, Brujan hit .288 with 386 runs, 31 home runs, 197 RBI and 195 stolen bases over 1,943 at-bats. He has 103 games of experience at AAA, where he posted his highest average hit rate (1.676) of his career.

Brujan has a top-of-the-order walk rate (10.6) while being tough to strike out (11.9%). His growth in power in 2021 came from a more balanced swing path.

Fantasy Outlook

This season he has the makings of being a super-utility man for the Rays. Tampa could use his speed and approach from the leadoff spot in the batting order. Fantasy managers gave him an ADP of 314 in mid-January in the NFBC. At the very least, Brujan is an impact base stealer in waiting, which is hard to find. For now, his batting average and power are bonuses to his stat line. He should be a very good low-dollar player in AL-only leagues.

OF Kevin Kiermaier

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After posting a dismal contact batting average for three seasons (.299, .297, and .313), Kiermaier made better contact last year (.361). His average hit rate (1.500) was the lowest of his career, leading to only four home runs over 348 at-bats. He posted a higher strikeout rate (25.7) over the past two seasons.

Kiermaier didn’t have a home run against left-handed pitching while posting a .268 batting average over 112 at-bats. Last November, he had minor surgery on his right knee.

Fantasy Outlook

His ADP (611) puts him in the free-agent pool in all formats. Kiermaier has an excellent glove, which offers no points in fantasy.

Rays' Ryan Yarbrough throws a pitch

Starting Pitching

SP Shane McClanahan

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The Rays entered 2022 as one of the better teams in the AL East, but their best arm comes into the year with only 123.1 innings of major league experience. Tampa drafted McClanahan with the 31st selection in the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft.

He went 11-6 with a 3.36 ERA and 154 strikeouts over 120.2 innings in his first entire season in the minors. McClanahan failed over four starts at AA (8.84 ERA) despite his success.

With no minor-league baseball in 2020 and injuries in the starting rotation in Tampa last year, the Rays called him up on April 29. He didn’t allow over four runs in any of his 25 starts while showing growth over his final 13 games (7-3 with a 2.81 ERA and 75 strikeouts over 67.1 innings).

His average fastball (96.7) was electric in velocity, but batters hit .303 against his four-seam fastball (.303 BAA and 10 home runs over 198 at-bats). McClanahan dominated with his slider (.219 BAA) and curveball (.196 BAA) while needing to work on his changeup (.393 BAA).

Fantasy Outlook

Tampa should push him to about 160 innings this year. However, he still needs some work against lefties (.293 BAA). His ADP (108) puts him in the SP2 zone. McClanahan won’t pitch into the seventh inning in many games, leading to only about a dozen wins. However, he will be tougher to hit with better command of his fastball in the strike zone while adding more strikeouts. McClanahan is trending toward a sub 3.00 ERA and over 180 strikeouts.

SP Corey Kluber

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In 2019, Kluber only pitched one inning due to a right shoulder injury (grade 2 tear of his teres major muscle). He pitched poorly in five of his first seven starts (5.50 ERA and 1.654 WHIP) only to see his season end on May 1 after a broken right forearm via a line drive. Just when he looked ready to make a push for a September return, Kluber suffered an oblique injury ending his year.

Last season, he posted a 3.04 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 55 strikeouts over his first 53.1 innings. Unfortunately, a right shoulder injury cost him the next three months. Kluber struggled over his final six starts (5.40 ERA and 1.61 WHIP over 26.2 innings).

His AFB (90.3) regressed for the sixth straight year while failing to find his command (3.7 walks per nine). Kluber still offered a winning slider (.182 BAA) and changeup (.192 BAA), but batters banged around his sinker (.329 BAA) and cutter (.279 BAA).

Over the last five full seasons, Kluber went 96-55 with a 3.09 ERA and 1,423 strikeouts over 1,306 innings. He’s won 18 or more games four times over this span while developing into a workhorse arm (over 200 innings pitched in five straight seasons). In 2017 and 2018, he led the AL in walk rate (1.6 and 1.4), but his strikeout rate (9.3) did regress in 2018.

Fantasy Outlook

It’s been three seasons since Kluber has been a fantasy asset. His secondary pitchers give him a chance at a rebound in value, but his fastball can’t bail him out of trouble, leading to more nibbling around the plate. Nevertheless, his ADP (380) takes away any downside, while success in spring training will set his true 2022 fantasy value. Possible 3.75 ERA with 175 strikeouts if he can make 30 starts.

SP Drew Rasmussen

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Rasmussen went 14-5 with a 2.65 ERA and 150 strikeouts over 170 innings over three seasons in college. Unfortunately, he needed two TJ surgeries, with the second costing him all of 2018.

In his first year in the minors, Rasmussen pushed quickly through three levels (3.15 ERA and 96 strikeouts over 74.1 innings). His strikeout rate (11.6) created an edge, but he walked too many batters (3.8 per nine).

After struggles with command (12 walks over 17 innings) in the Brewers’ bullpen, the Rays made a wise move to acquire him in a midseason trade. He finished with a split role in Tampa while blossoming into a high-level arm (4-0 with a 2.44 ERA and 48 strikeouts over 59 innings). Rasmussen threw more strikes while shining over his final eight starts (3-0 with a 1.46 ERA and 23 strikeouts over 37 innings).

His AFB (97.3) is electric while developing a winning slider (.163 BAA). On the other hand, Rasmussen barely threw a curveball (.429 BAA) and changeup (.286 BAA).

Fantasy Outlook

The growth in his first-pitch strike rate (69) supports his improved walk rate (3.0). Rasmussen has the fastball and slider to shine, but a third time through the batting order could be an issue over time. His ADP (276) will draw attention. Unfortunately, he has never pitched over 80 innings as a pro. I was on to Rasmussen last year before the crowd, so I’ll be following him closely in spring training. His ceiling relies on the depth of innings pitched.

SP Luis Patino

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Over four seasons in the minors, Patino went 19-14 with a 2.43 ERA and 320 strikeouts over 263.1 innings.

Last year the Rays gave him 15 starts, with 13 of them coming over the final three months. He posted a 4.11 ERA with 50 strikeouts over 57 innings after the All-Star break (4.42 ERA as a starter). His risk comes from home runs allowed (1.4 per nine) and below-par command (4.1 walks per nine in the majors and 3.4 in 2021). In addition, Patino must improve against lefties (.274 BAA with 21 walks and 22 strikeouts over 148 plate appearance).

His average fastball came in at 96.5 MPH with Tampa. Patino’s slider (.191 BAA) was his best pitch, followed by his four-seam fastball (.277 BAA). He struggled to make any progress with his changeup (.400 BAA) and curveball (.444 BAA).

Fantasy Outlook

At age 22, Patino has a high ceiling while also needing a lot of work in his game. With two plus pitches already in his pocket, he could come fast if his changeup takes a step forward. His ADP (310) in mid-January in the NFBC is worth the investment. Patino has ace upside, but his next step up in workload may only be 150 innings (he pitched 106.2 innings in 2021).

SP Shane Baz

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Looking back on the Rays’ Chris Archer trade with the Pirates in July of 2018, it seems almost criminal to think Tampa landed SP Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz. Pittsburgh drafted Baz with the 12th selection in the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft out of high school. Over two seasons at rookie ball at age 18 and 19, he went 4-8 with a 4.26 ERA, 1.645 WHIP and 78 strikeouts over 76 innings. Baz flashed in 2019 at A ball (2.99 ERA over 81.1 innings with 87 strikeouts), but he still walked 4.1 batters per nine.

After a year off due to no minor-league baseball, Baz became a strike-throwing machine at AA (two walks over 32.2 innings) and AAA (11 walks over 46 innings), leading to a massive jump in his arm. He finished with a 2.06 ERA, 0.801 WHIP and 113 strikeouts over 78.2 innings. In September, Tampa even gave him three starts when Baz repeated his success (2.03 ERA over 13.1 innings with three walks and 18 strikeouts).

His average fastball clocked in at 97.2 MPH with the Rays. Baz dusted hitters with his slider (.067 BAA) while also featuring a swing and miss curveball (.182 BAA). At this point of his career, he still doesn’t trust his changeup (he only threw it 4.5%of the time with Tampa).

Fantasy Outlook

Baz only has one season of dominating success, but fantasy managers gave him an ADP of 139 in the early draft season in the NFBC. His future looks bright, but he never pitched over 95 innings in a season. In 2021, Baz pitched over five innings in only two of his 20 appearances while never throwing over 75 pitches. I expect good innings, but his win total may be shallow unless the Rays use Baz after an opener. Next step: 130 innings with a 2.75 ERA and 150 strikeouts.

SP Ryan Yarbrough

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From 2016-19, Yarbrough posted a 52-22 record between the minors and the majors that screams a winning arm. In his first two years with Tampa, he has a 27-12 record with a 4.02 ERA and 245 strikeouts over 289 innings.

Other than wins (1), Yarbrough gave fantasy managers productive innings in 2020 (3.56 ERA and 1.226 WHIP). However, in 2021, he was much easier to hit (.267 BAA), and home runs allowed (1.5 per nine) became a problem. His WHIP (1.226) suggested a better outcome in ERA (5.11).

Yarbrough lost his confidence on the road (5.49 ERA) while allowing 16 home runs over 77 innings. Right-handed batters hit .275 against him with 23 home runs over 491 at-bats. After a productive May (3.42 ERA), he failed to post an ERA under 4.00 in any of the final four months (4.91, 4.88, 4.05, and 9.00). Yarbrough is a command pitcher (1.5 walks per nine over his last 352.1 innings) with a fading strikeout rate (6.8).

His average fastball (86.7) was the lowest of his career and 1.5 MPH lower than 2019. He maintained success with his slider (.170 BAA) and changeup (.232 BAA), but batters smashed his cutter (.322 BAA) and four-seam fastball (.316 BAA).

Fantasy Outlook

Yarbrough will find himself in long relief without regaining some velocity on his fastball (cutter). However, his secondary stuff is challenging to hit, and he throws plenty of strikes. For now, Yarbrough won’t be drafted in any format (ADP – 503). If he wins a starting job and the spring reports are positive on his velocity, his best value still would only come in two-start weeks.

SP Taj Bradley

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Bradley is a second minor league pitcher who struggled with his command (3.8 walks per nine) over his time at rookie ball (3.77 ERA and 81 strikeouts over 74 innings). Like Shane Baz, he was a much better pitcher after receiving a year off. Over 23 games between A and High A in 2021, Bradley went 12-3 with a 1.83 ERA and 123 strikeouts over 103.1 innings.

Batters only hit .181 against him while improving his command (2.7 walks per nine). His fastball now sits in the mid-90s while working off a slider, curveball and changeup as his secondary options.

Fantasy Outlook

The Rays should start Bradley off at AA, where continued success should push him to AAA over the summer. He looks to be a year away from the majors. In high school, Bradley played outfield. However, Tampa drafted him as a pitcher in the fifth round in 2018.

Bullpen

RP Andrew Kittredge

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Kittredge has a placeholder feel for saves for Tampa after posting the best year of his career. Over five seasons in the majors, he went 13-6 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.273 WHIP, and 182 strikeouts over 183 innings. Kittredge has more opener starts (15) than saves (9) in his career. Over the past three years, his best area of growth has been his first-pitch strike rate (69), leading to an improving walk rate (1.9).

He threw the highest fastball (95.6) of his career. The dumping of his four-seam fastball and the emergence of his sinker (.219 BAA) and slider (.202 BAA) were the keys to his better pitching stats. Kittredge added a low-volume cutter (.179 BAA) last season.

Fantasy Outlook

Even with a reasonable ADP (300), I would have difficulty targeting Kittredge in drafts. His arm looks in position to close in mid-January, but I expect another option to emerge by opening day. In addition, the Rays continue to ride the hot hand late in games.

RP J.P. Feyereisen

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Despite pitching well in the minors (29-15 with 2.53 ERA and 375 strikeouts over 313.1 innings) with some closing experience (33 saves), Feyereisen didn’t get his first chance in the majors until 2020. He has four years of experience at AAA (3.19 ERA).

Over 55 games between the Brewers and the Rays, Feyereisen battled his command (5.3 walks per nine), but he was still challenging to hit (.183 BAA). His stuff played better against righties (.147 BAA).

His average fastball (93.3) is league average. Batters struggled to hit his four-seamer (.167 BAA) and changeup (.152 BAA), while his slider (.286 BAA) still needs work.

Fantasy Outlook

Feyereisen doesn’t have the command to close in the majors. Tampa tends to find upside relievers on other teams, pointing to him pitching closer to the seventh inning in 2022.

RP Pete Fairbanks

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After struggling as a starter at A ball in 2016 (4.88 ERA), Fairbanks blew out his right elbow the following season, leading to TJ surgery. In 2019 over four levels of the minors, he showcased a jump in his strikeout rate (14.4) with excellent command (2.5 walks per nine). Despite his success, his ERA (4.53) didn’t come along for the ride.

Fairbanks struggled with his walk rate (4.5) over the past two years, but he continued to post an elite strikeout rate (12.3). However, he missed time in April and August with a bump right shoulder.

His AFB (97.6) is electric (.164 BAA). Fairbanks lost the feel for his slider (.272 BAA), and his cutter (.400 BAA) was a liability. His lack of a breaking pitch led to a demise against lefties (.343 BAA).

Fantasy Outlook

I don’t see a closing job in his future unless Fairbanks cleans up his command and solves left-handed batters. His fastball/slider combination can be elite at times, plus his shoulder issues may reemerge in 2022.

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