Power Rankings Countdown: No. 18 Rays could win AL East — without being a top fantasy team

Editor’s note: We continue our countdown of how MLB’s 30 teams rank in terms of fantasy baseball assets. At No. 18, here’s Scott Pianowski’s snapshot of the Tampa Bay Rays.

There’s a gap to mind with the Tampa Bay Rays. This is a team that’s generally better in real life than it is with fantasy. The club generally has good depth, ample platoons, quality defense, deep bullpens —and most of those things do not correlate directly to fantasy value. The Rays could theoretically win the AL East but not be the top fantasy team in the division.

The first-base and DH slots will probably turn into platoons, and the Rays generally make me uneasy with their “162 games, 162 lineups” approach. But Austin Meadows has earned the right to play against all kinds of pitching, and Hunter Renfroe will hit 25-30 home runs if they leave him alone.

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This is probably the last chance for Willy Adames to make a snappy impression; uber-prospect Wander Franco will likely be ready in 2021. It’s a shame they didn’t keep Travis d’Arnaud; Mike Zunino’s framing keeps him on the field, not his bat.

Tampa Bay Rays projected lineup. (Photo by Paul Rosales/Yahoo Sports)

The rotation could be fantastic, depending on how healthy Tyler Glasnow turns out to be. I’m probably out on Blake Snell, given that he seems priced near his ceiling, off a lost year.

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Tampa Bay always has a deep bullpen; Nick Anderson looks like the head of a closer committee, but expect the Rays to use several candidates to finish up games, focusing more on leverage and matchups than defined, singular roles.

Likely Buy/Fade: Meadows, though the price is creeping up; Anderson, because the price is creeping up.

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