Tue 10/03/2015 - 16:39 EDT

Tampa Bay Rays 2015 Season Preview

Tampa Bay Rays 2015 Season Preview
With their long time manager, Joe Maddon leaving to coach the Chicago Cubs and an offseason filled with the loss of many quality players, the Tampa Bay Rays are in the process of rebuilding and won't make much noise in the American League East this season.

Tampa Bay Rays Futures

Odds To Win Division: +700

Odds To Win AL Pennant: 33/1

Odds To Win World Series: 66/1

Regular Season Win Total: 78.5

Most Significant Offseason Changes

Biggest Additions:

John Jaso, 1B,DH

Kevin Jepsen, RP

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

David DeJesus, LF

Rene Rivera, C

Biggest Losses:

Ben Zobrist, IF

Wil Myers, OF

Jeremy Hellickson, SP

Matt Joyce, OF

Yunel Escobar, SS

They’ll Be Successful If…

The pitching staff on the Rays is full of talent and youth and will be the strength of this team. Evan Longoria, James Loney and Desmond Jennings provide the lineup with some veteran experience. The pitching staff of the Rays is filled with talented young arms with huge upside with Alex Cobb, Drew Smylie, Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore (who is slotted to return by the end of June). Even with the trade of David Price to the Detroit Tigers at 2014 trade deadline and the loss of Jeremey Hellickson in the offseason, the Rays have a dynamic group of young pitchers remaining, that could help lead the team to success, much sooner than anticipated. The lineup has a few veteran hitters that will help the young pitching staff. Longoria is one of the best third baseman in the game and has average 31 homeruns and 107 RBIs over his career, when playing a full season. Loney has batted batted .290 or better in his two seasons with the Rays and Jennings provides the Rays with speed on the bases (30 or more doubles in 2013 and 2014 and 31 stolen bases in 2012). If these three can perform as expected or better, the offense and the team can exceed their low expectations in 2015.       

They’ll Be Unsuccessful If…

The lineup lacks any semblance of a power hitter outside of Longoria. Even with all the talent in the rotation, injuries will be a big risk and deterrent this season. The lineup for the rays is considerably worse than its AL East counterparts and one of the worst in the entire MLB (it ranked 27th in runs per game and 26th team home runs in 2014). This season’s will likely fare no better. If Longoria is to be sidelined for any prolonged period of time , the lineup lacks any suitable replacement. The talented starting rotation could be limited in usage to avoid injury and save the arms for the future. Matt Moore and Drew Smylie are both using spring training to recover from injuries and no one in the current starting rotation has pitched 200 innings or more in a season. If any player in the rotation exhibits injuries or fatigue, expect them to be limited for the reminder of the season.  

Fantasy Bargain: Jake Odorizzi, SP

After a solid 2014 season, Jake Odorizzi should continue to improve and have a great 2015 season. In his first full season as a starter, Odorizzi ranked 6th in the AL in strikeouts per 9 innings, with 9.32  and was one of eight AL pitchers with a perfect (1.000) fielding percentage in 2014. Expect him to lower his ERA (which was 4.13 in 2014) and improve on his strikeout to walk ratio (which was 2.95 in 2014).  

Outlook

With a young and very talent pitching rotation, the Rays have a great core to build around. The team lacks the offensive firepower to compete in the AL East, and this season will be primarily focused on rebuilding the offense and expectations are quite low.

Prediction: 5th In AL East

Category : Archives

Tag : baseball , mlb , Rays , Tampa Bay , Tampa Bay Rays 2015 Preview

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