We are currently in the day-and-age of technology. Anyone who says that they don’t have a cell phone, probably remembers what it was like to hear music through an eight-track player, sorry guys but it’s true. The fact of the matter is that most Americans, including 85% of adults, use mobile phones.
Long before we were talking on portable phones though, we were enthralled by the video game world. I still own an original NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). However, many people, including myself have upgraded to the likes of PlayStation 3 or XBox 360 for their gaming fix. PS3 and Sony Computer Entertainment of America provides us with the number one selling baseball video game, MLB 11: The Show.
I thought it fitting to run a simulation on the upcoming 2011 season and get any idea of what might be in store for the Rays. It’s worth noting, the simulation did have Desmond Jennings on the Opening Day roster, obviously that will change. Otherwise the Rays position players are as expected. The bullpen, which has been a question mark, consisted of Jake McGee, Corey Wade, Adam Russell, Joel Peralta, Andy Sonnanstine, Kyle Farnsworth, and JP Howell.
After simulating the first half of the season, Manny Ramirez and David Price were the only Rays to make the AL All-Star Team. I know, no Evan Longoria, he was passed-up for Toronto’s Jose Bautista (3B eligible) and Seattle’s Chone Figgins.
Here’s a few things that stood out at the break (aside from Longo getting snubbed):
Manny Ramirez: .363 BA, 29 HR, and 91 RBI
Johnny Damon: .292 BA, 12 HR, and 16 SB (only CS once)
David Price: 9-4, with a 2.92 ERA
James Shields landed on the DL with a fractured arm, and JP Howell led the team with 24 Saves.
The Rays (58-34) found themselves only two games back of the first-place Red Sox (60-32).
The second half of the season would prove to continue much the same. Rookie Jeremy Hellickson equaled his first half win total (six), and finished the season 12-7 with a 3,51 ERA. The Rays held pace with the Red Sox throughout the second half of the season but in the end fell six games short of the AL East title. A lofty 99-63 record took the Rays into the post-season as the AL Wild Card team where they squared off against the Texas Rangers in the first round (this time no Cliff Lee!). Here’s a look at how the team stats looked at seasons end…
As for the bullpen and it’s closer-by-committee, JP Howell was the man in the closers role. Howell had 46 Saves and a 3.02 ERA. Corey Wade proved his value as well, a staff best 2.45 ERA in 77 innings of relief.
So, remember that little teaser a while back about the Rays making the playoffs and facing the Rangers again? Well your anticipation of the results probably lasted longer than the Rays did in the series. It was an early exit for the Rays as they lost (3-0) in the American League Divisional Series. The Boston Red Sox went on to beat the San Francisco Giants (4-2) in the 2011 World Series.
Although the World Series trophy is the one that counts, the Rays did manage to take home some hardware…
AL Silver Slugger: Manny Ramirez
3B Gold Glove: Evan Longoria
Looking back at the simulation, the 99 wins seems a bit on the high side but it shows that the Rays are not out of the race in the AL East. The numbers for Manny Ramirez would be an absolute blessing for this Rays squad. Let’s see how the season plays out, but the optimist looks at this simulation as a possibility of what could be in 2011.
Topics: Adam Russell, Andy Sonnanstine, B.J. Upton, Ben Zobrist, Corey Wade, Dan Johnson, David Price, Desmond Jennings, Evan Longoria, Jake McGee, James Shields, Jeff Niemann, Jeremy Hellickson, Joel Peralta, John Jaso, Johnny Damon, JP Howell, Kelly Shoppach, Kyle Farnsworth, Manny Ramirez, Matt Joyce, Reid Brignac, Sean Rodriguez, Wade Davis