2021 Roster Review: Tampa Bay Rays

100-62 (1st in Division; 3rd in MLB)

[PREVIOUS REVIEWS]

SP Wins: 42 (16th)

RP Wins: 58 (1st)

Saves: 42 (10th)

1+ Save: 14 (Diego Castillo 14 [total: 16], Andrew Kittredge 8, Pete Fairbanks 5, J.P. Feyereisen 3, Jeffrey Springs, Dietrich Enns 2, Collin McHugh, Josh Fleming, Matt Wisler, Chris Mazza, Ryan Sherriff, Nick Anderson, Trevor Richards, Evan Phillips 1)

100+ Ks: 4 (Shane McClanahan 141, Tyler Glasnow 123, Michael Wacha 121, Ryan Yarbrough 117)

.260+ AVG (min. 350 PA): 2 (Randy Arozarena .274, Joey Wendle .265)

65+ Runs: 4 (Brandon Lowe 97, Arozarena 94, Austin Meadows 79, Wendle 73)

65+ RBI: 3 (Meadows 106, Lowe 99, Arozarena 69)

10+ HRs: 10 (Lowe 39, Mike Zunino 33, Meadows 27, Arozarena 20, Yandy Díaz, Brett Phillips, Nelson Cruz 13, Wendle, Ji-Man Choi 11, Manuel Margot 10)

5+ SBs: 6 (Arozarena 20, Phillips 14, Margot 13, Kevin Kiermaier 9, Wendle 8, Lowe 7)

BEST BUY: Brandon Lowe

Lowe fronted the league a couple months, hitting just .189/.307/.372 through May, though he was still pacing for a 30 HR/10 SB season. He exploded from June on, posting a .276/.357/.600 with 30 HR and 4 SB (50/7 full season pace). All told, he wound up with 39 HR, 99 RBIs, 97 R, and 7 SB in 615 PA. The AVG was light at .247, but he still wound up at the 35th best hitter in the game. He is being drafted 82nd overall and 50th among hitters. While he might not fully repeat 2021, he is a solid bet for 30 HR, 85-90 RBIs, and a handful of SBs.

ON THE RISE: Shane McClanahan

McClanahan enjoyed a wonderful debut campaign as the Rays allowed him to make 25 starts during which he posted a 3.43 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 20% K-BB rate over 123.3 IP. The 25-year-old lefty is now primed for a full season and the Rays could realistically push him to 180 innings. I see him remaining a stud and he could even improve upon the WHIP if his hit suppression improves (8.8 H9, .328 BABIP). He is 25th in my SP rankings.

OFF THE RADAR: Josh Lowe

If you blinked, you might have missed Lowe’s MLB debut. He logged a pair of plate appearances in two games, nabbing a single, walk, and stolen base during his sip of coffee. His minor league season was great, though, as the 24-year-old outfielder dominated in Triple-A, posting a 142 wRC+ with 22 HR and 26 SB in 470 PA. His power/speed profile landed him 56th among prospects to start last year and he finished 37th after graduations and a promotion of his own for a strong season. The swing-and-miss (27% in 2165 minor league PA) will stifle his AVG, but he takes walks (11%) and the aforementioned power and speed could pay immediate dividends. He doesn’t have an obvious spot to start the season, but the Rays might move Kevin Kiermaier once the lockout is over and that would open centerfield for Lowe.

HOT TAKE: With an ADP in the 50s, Wander Franco is a disappointment in 2022. He has a 19 HR/10 SB projection with a .289/.346/.472 line which is perfectly solid for a 21-year-old’s first season, but not enough to deliver a profit or even a neutral return on his draft price. He is just 27-for-48 in stolen bases during his minor league career (56%) with 17 HR per 600 PA and his 2021 MLB pace over 600 PA was 14 HR/4 SB so I’m not entirely sure he will be a top-60 player in his first full season. Obviously, he is remarkably skilled and could make the leap, but at this ADP (54th overall in 16 drafts since January 1st) he has to make the leap and I’m likely looking elsewhere in that pick range with more established shortstops going around him: Xander Bogaerts at 46, Francisco Lindor at 47, and Javier Báez at 62.

I wanted to do something about Brooks Raley 레일리, but I don’t really think he becomes their primary closer or anything so I couldn’t think of a fantasy-relevant Hot Take related to him. If you are in a deeper league that rewards rostering middle relievers, he could be a stud. His 24% K-BB rate deserved better than his 4.78 ERA/1.20 WHIP combo, but a 1.1 HR/9 and .322 BABIP hurt him. With similar skills in 2022, he could post a sub-3.00 ERA and low-1.00s WHIP with a 30%+ K rate.

ICYMI: Despite just 9 RBIs in April, Austin Meadows wound up with 106 RBIs on the season, good for 11th in the league. Meadows had a substantial platoon issue this year (.563 OPS in 189 PA) and still reached that RBI mark. He is the 34th OF off the board at pick 136 on average which I think is a fair price for the 27-year-old headed into just his third full season (came up in May of 2019 and then 2020 was obviously shortened).





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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Jasper Franciscomember
6 months ago

Didn’t you also have a save for the Rays last year?