Rays Top Ten Best Starters in Franchise History

By Mat Germain
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The Rays are set to deal some of their hard-earned SP depth at this year’s winter meetings. We thought it was the perfect time to reflect on which 10 Rays SP are the best of all-time.

The Rays have benefited from quite a few high-ranking draft picks over the years, some of which have resulted in the acquisition of the very best arms in baseball. Though the years, pitching has normally been a strength of this team, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing at all. If anything, the team has perfected its ability to draft, sign, and develop pitchers at an outstanding rate. One that’s well ahead of the majority of MLB.

More from Rays Colored Glasses

Plenty of people have wondered what made the Rays focus so much on pitching so much over time. I link it all of the way back to the 1999 MLB draft, when they selected

Josh Hamilton

1st overall. That was not a successful endeavour and we all know how the story ended with the Rays. After Hamilton, there was the success of

Rocco Baldelli

, the frustrating case of

Dewon Brazelton

, the talented but under-performing

Melvin Upton

Jr, and yet another struggling talent in

Delmon Young


Combined, these were not the kind of results the Rays were aiming for, namely 1 success story out of 5.

In my estimation, that’s where things changed for the Rays. They’d had enough of selecting players that were always the most talented but had makeup questions which surrounded them. From that time forward, they selected Jeff Niemann (4th overall in 2004) and Wade Townsend (8th overall in 2005).

They had success with Niemann, but the Rays hit the jackpot when they finally selected a golden egg in Evan Longoria (3rd overall in 2006), setting the course for success in Tampa. Next up was none other than the $217 million man in David Price (1st overall in 2007), and Tim Beckham (1st overall in 2008).

The point I’m trying to make here is that when you think back to all of the best Rays pitchers, you realize that most of them were selected outside the 1st round. Instead, they were selected in the later rounds, identified by great scouting and developed effectively, or traded for when the team is forced to do so for contractual reasons. That’s what the Rays do better than most other MLB teams.

With this in mind, we head towards our list, beginning at #10 and ending at #1.

Next: At #10 we have a sentimental favourite