By Fred Zinkie
Special to Yahoo Sports
Without a doubt, the Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff is the most under-rostered commodity in Yahoo leagues this season. The club has just two pitchers who are rostered in over 80 percent of leagues despite leading the Majors in ERA (3.36) while also ranking second in WHIP (1.14), third in strikeouts (940) and sixth in wins (56).
And not only is this club rocking life right now, but they are well-positioned to have great success the rest of the way. The club’s current series at Yankee Stadium is the last one at that offense-inducing venue this year. And although two of their three remaining series are against a tough Red Sox lineup, they’ll be played at pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field.
Tampa figures to be especially productive on the pitching side from August 3-25, when they face the Marlins (29th in runs scored), the Blue Jays (24th in runs scored), the Tigers (30th in runs scored), the Mariners (second in total strikeouts), the Padres (23rd in runs scored, fourth in strikeouts) and the Orioles (27th in runs scored).
Let’s take a look at the fantasy options on the Rays staff.
Blake Snell (98 percent rostered)
Perhaps the only disappointing member of this staff, Snell remains a lineup lock. He has been extremely unlucky (.341 BABIP, 70.3 percent strand rate) and his 3.55 FIP suggests that better days are ahead. He remains a great buy-low option.
Charlie Morton (90 percent rostered)
With 11 wins, 148 whiffs and great ratios (2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP), Morton has been a top-12 overall fantasy asset this year. The right-hander should be active in all leagues for all starts and is on the shortlist of favorites for the AL Cy Young award.
Yonny Chirinos (77 percent)
Chirinos has been fairly fortunate (.229 BABIP) en route to being an overall top-50 fantasy asset. He picked up three of his eight wins by following an opener before being used as a traditional starter in his past nine outings. Chirinos has thrown at least six innings in each of his past seven appearances and should be active for every matchup.
Tyler Glasnow (71 percent)
Glasnow is the only real over-rostered member of the Rays staff. Sidelined for an undetermined about of time with a forearm strain, the right-hander can be dropped in mixed leagues.
Brendan McKay (50 percent)
After dominating the Minors this year (1.22 ERA, 0.80 WHIP), McKay is off to a strong start in the big leagues (1.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP). The southpaw should make the rest of his 2019 outings in the Majors, as there is no reason for the contending Rays to waste any of his bullets in Triple-A. I fully expect McKay to pay major fantasy dividends across at least 10 more starts.
Emilio Pagan (44 percent)
Pagan may have just six saves, but he has picked up three of the team’s past five saves and has been their best reliever this year (1.91 ERA, 0.88 WHIP). Gamers should give this talented right-hander a chance on the notion that he could be a top-10 reliever if given all the remaining ninth-inning chances.
Diego Castillo (31 percent)
Castillo is another over-rostered Rays hurler, as his early season saves success caused him to be added in many leagues. But with just one save since the beginning of June, Castillo has handed most of the ninth-inning duties to Pagan. Still, this right-hander recently returned from the IL and can’t be written off as a potential second-half option.
Ryan Yarbrough (11 percent)
The versatile Yarbrough is definitely the most under-rostered member of this staff. The southpaw regularly follows an opener, which has enabled him to collect eight wins in 15 appearances. And before you tell me that wins can’t be predicted, Yarbrough did the same thing last year (16 wins in 38 appearances). The 27 year old should grab more wins the rest of the way than most starters, while also posting a helpful WHIP (0.98 in 2019) and respectable ERA (4.26). He should be rostered in at least 70 percent of leagues.
Jalen Beeks (2 percent)
Beeks was recently recalled and deserves attention in 15-team leagues, as his role is very similar to that of Yarbrough. The lefty has amassed five wins this year by often following an opener and pitching reasonably well (2.78 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) across three or four innings per outing. It is a major fantasy bonus that Beeks can rack up wins while essentially serving as a starter but not needing to toss five or more frames. In fact, he has been a top-200 overall fantasy asset this season despite spending time in the Minors.