Top Five Rays

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5. Carl Crawford

Crawford is the best player in the history of the Rays, but last season was the worst of his career. Durability was his biggest issue, as Crawford played in only 109 games. Perhaps because of nagging injuries, Crawford hit a career low .273 last season - not terrible, but he had topped .300 the previous three seasons. Most consider Crawford overrated in fantasy circles because of his lack of power (everyone always expects 25 dongs....he's never topped 18), but you know he's good for steals and a high BA if healthy.

4. James Shields

Shields has been remarkably consistent the last two years. His maturation is as big a reason as any that the Rays were able to take a quantum leap last season. Shields isn't particularly stout in one category, but he's solid across the board in the four major ones for starters. The last two seasons he's averaging 13 wins, a 1.3 WHIP, about 170 strikeouts, and approximately a 3.7 ERA.

3. BJ Upton

Upton was spectacular in 2007, but his 2008 performance made him somewhat of a draft disappointment last year. His average and homers dropped significantly, but his stolen bases doubled from 22 to 44. Expect things to even out a bit this year, 20 homers is certainly a possibility, and maybe the addition of Pat Burrell will push Upton over 90 runs scored for the first time in his career.

2. Scott Kazmir

Strikeouts is a category in any league, and Kazmir is one of the best in the majors when it comes to missing bats. He pitched just 152 innings last year due to injuries, but still struck out 166. He set a career high for K's in 07 with a remarkable 239. So if Kazmir is heatlhy, mark down a healthy strikeout total, with an ERA around 3.5. That's where he has been the last four seasons.

1. Evan Longoria

It seemed like from Day One there was no doubt that Longoria would be a fine major leaguer. He was fantastic in his rookie season last year, hitting .272 with 27 homers, and 85 RBI. And that was only in 122 games. Given a full season's workload, a .280/30/95 line seems reasonable, if not conservative.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

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This page contains a single entry by Ricky O'Donnell published on March 5, 2009 12:31 PM.

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