Tampa Bay Rays – Ryan Yarbrough
We recently profiled Ryan Yarbrough as a sleeper fantasy option in 2020 due to his previous experience as a “bulk” guy. You can read about that here. Pitchers will begin the season on short notice and will likely be pitching a lot of three-inning outings to begin the season. That is, unless it’s Max Scherzer, taking him out after three innings could result in physical harm to the manager and the pitching coach.
We don’t know exactly how Rays manager Kevin Cash will shuffle their pitchers around this season in order to maximize efficiency, but we do know that Yarbrough is a trusted option as a mid-game innings eater. I don’t mean that negatively, either.
Yarbrough is coming off of a season in which he set the Rays single-season WHIP record as a starter with a 0.995 and posted a 3.55 WHIP.
He led all Rays’ starters with a minuscule 3.2% walk rate and finished at in the 99th percentile in preventing hard-hit balls. Should the Rays continue their tradition of being untraditional, Ryan Yarbrough stands to make his star shine much brighter this season. It’s not crazy to think he could end up leading the team in wins without starting a game.
I have no idea if the Rays will utilize him as a relief pitcher or as a traditional starter, but Yarbrough is a trusted arm for manager Kevin Cash and has the ability to excel in any role. In a season of uncertainty, teams will need turn to consistent performers.