Rays: 16 Things to Look Forward To in 2016
Number Fifteen Thing to Look Forward to: Better DH Production
The Rays may have centred the deal they made with the Mariners around what Brad Miller is going to bring to the SS position, but there’s no doubt that Morrison was also a huge portion of the deal.
While the Blue Jays enjoyed production from Edwin Encarnacion, the Yankees enjoyed a rejuvenated Alex Rodriguez, and the Red Sox continued to get production form David Ortiz, the Rays lagged behind from the DH position and need to improve on that if they’re going to move up in the standings.
With a season of 23 HR and another with 17 HR behind him, Morrison will look to improve on that in 2016 as he plays the season at age 28. What interests me most in this case is the possibility of platooning Morrison at the DH position. He hit 17 HR in only 315 AB vs RHP while maintaining a decent .241/.323/.444 line against them. If the Rays pair him with someone that crushes LHP, they’re going to get much better production from the position in 2016.
Candidates for the platoon job include Taylor Motter (.370/.431/.615 vs LHP in 2015), Mikie Mahtook (.294/.368/.662 vs LHP in 2015) and Brandon Guyer (.272/.362/.439 vs LHP in 390 MLB PA). All three can produce at an above-average level vs LHP, leaving the DH position very well covered and hopefully much improved over 2015.
Next: Number Sixteen Thing to Look Forward to: Team Cohesion