Tampa has it well so far this season
The Rays are in the thick of the Wild Card race. They have been able to stay above float while hard hitting backstop Wilson Ramos returns. The pitching side of things have turned around this year, with both the rotation and bullpen being reliable. At the dish, the bats are mashing, as Tampa ranks as the 4th best offense in the AL according to ESPN. Both sides of the ball are contributing consistently when needed. With a team in the playoff hunt, there is a good chance that the team will utilize future assets to win with the current club. But the Rays are in a small market, so they need to sustain competitiveness now and in the future. The have less time to miss on players because they do not have the sufficient funds for free agency. So will they buy or sell at the deadline?
Go big or go home
This year Tampa has been known for their swing and miss ways. But there are consequences with wiffing constantly. Being aggressive at the dish has it’s positives, but it can hurt a player’s batting average. A great example on this year’s club is Brad Miller. At this point in the season, the lefty is hitting a cool .194 with 2 home runs and 14 RBIs. I miss Logan Forsythe a little bit now. But as long as Jose Deleon pans out, I’m not complaining. So an upgrade at second base could be in order if Miller continues to struggle. The Rays will finally get Wilson Ramos back, which is a plus at catcher. Tampa should pick up utility man Jed Lowrie from the seller A’s. They are looking to get younger, and Lowrie has hit well this year with a .280 batting average. He also has another year of control.
The Rays can always pitch
This season, Tampa’s pitching ranks 9th best in the MLB according to ESPN. Last year, they ranked 16th all year. The club has vastly improved from it’s dismal 68 wins last time. The rotation is solid, with the resurgence of Chris Archer and the emergence of rookie Jacob Faria. The righty Alex Cobb has shown flashes in his walk year, in which he will ultimately be a trade chip. He has a solid 4.05 ERA, the Boston born is at least keeping his team in games. Cobb utilizes his sinking fastball as a means to set up his changeup. The right-handed starter has a career 3.53 ERA, and has been known for his consistency of quality starts.
The bullpen has also been a factor in this year’s success. Alex Colome has been producing in high leveraged situations with a 2.43 ERA with 20 saves.As recently as the offseason, Colome as rumored as a trade chip. But he won’t be pried away unless a haul is in order. Another bright spot this year has been late signee Tommy Hunter. The reliever has pitched with a 2.70 ERA, and at the Trop he is tossing a 0.84 ERA.
Tampa is a pitching developing machine. They are able to produce solid to plus pitching talent every year, with this season being no different. The bats are working well also to back up the guys on the mound. Hopefully it all comes together for the Rays this year.