Burning Fantasy Baseball Questions: Tampa Bay Rays

by Nicholas Minnix on January 21, 2013 @ 12:32:43 PDT


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Which rotation member is closest to his next breakout?

The easy answer: Matt Moore, the stupendously talented left-hander. It should be noted that he hadn't experienced control problems like those he had in 2012 since 2009, in A ball. He improved on his first-half ERA of 4.42 by posting a 3.01 mark after the break thanks in part to his drop in BB/9 from 4.52 to 3.59. A 3.59 BB/9 isn't great; prospectors should prefer to see more stability in his 2012, but he has the tools to make a number like that hold up, and he could take a bigger step forward in 2013. Still, he's 23, so don't expect a Cy Young Award just yet.

Moore overshadows two pitchers rounding out the rotation, beginning with Jeff Niemann, who's entering his age-30 season. Health problems have been his most recent, although hopefully not biggest, hurdle. He's upped his ability to limit base runners and home runs; he may have been on his way to a career year in the strikeout column had a liner not fractured a bone in his leg in May. Hopefully, the shoulder inflammation he encountered when he came back was not a long-term concern, but it's not his first bout. There's a lot of room for profit here.

The other is Alex Cobb, another right-hander who's better-versed in the art of fly-ball limitation than Niemann. Under Tampa Bay's tutelage, he cut down on the poor control rate that had plagued him for the past year between the parent club and the Rays' Class AAA affiliate, Durham. In what should be the 25-year-old's first full big-league season, he could easily be an above-average pitcher who costs very little.

Can Wil Myers offer anything close to what Mike Trout and Bryce Harper pulled off?

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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