After just one month, the Tampa Bay Rays continue to mix and match players trying to find the right combination for success. At best, Baseball Essential says the team is a 80-85–win team as it grades the components in the wake of a mediocre April.
The front office made a concerted effort to improve the offense. They saw their lack of power in 2015 as a glaring weakness and addressed that by adding Corey Dickerson, Logan Morrison, and Steve Pearce.
“Despite their 10-12 April record, not only is there no reason to panic, but in a volatile American League East, the Rays, by season’s end, could see themselves in position to play October baseball.”
Here’s some highlights of their grades:
“The most disappointing part of the team has been the offense” noting that the “team’s .293 on-base percentage was the second-worst in the American League” and that they “are also at/near the bottom of the league in runs, walks, and batting average.”
“The new acquisitions have not helped as Morrison, Brad Miller, and Hank Conger have barely hit my weight, let alone their own” with “…one offensive star in Logan Forsythe. Forsythe started off slowly while acclimating himself to the leadoff spot, but he hit a few key home runs and finished the month with a .341/.426/.610 batting line for a 1.035 OPS.”
Starting Pitching: A
“In complete contrast, the pitching staff has performed admirably despite Chris Archer, the anointed ace, getting off to a horrible start.”
“…the starters were able to average nearly six innings per start. That should help out the bullpen and maybe avoid a summer swoon as they did in 2015. The starters boasted a 10.03 K/9 and had one of the best BB/9 rates of 2.23. Overall they posted a 3.47 ERA, 3.37 FIP, and 3.35 xFIP. All improvements from last year at this time.”
“Another shining light in April was the bullpen. Jake McGee, Brad Boxberger, and Kevin Jepsen (all now traded) made up the three-headed monster last year that teams now covet.”
“The collective group posted a 7-2 record with five saves and an impressive 2.98 ERA. More importantly, they had a BB/9 of 2.71 and an outstanding left-on-base percentage of 84.8. That was 10 points higher than last year at the same time.”
Overall Grade: C-
“This is definitely a Jekyll-and-Hyde team right now. The best thing the front office can do is continue with their plan and show some patience. There will be no big names added to this roster, so this is the team moving forward. May will be tough as they will have 10 home games and 16 on the road.”
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