Rays News

Rays Have Power But Not Much Punch

By David Egbert
Apr 10, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Corey Dickerson (10) singles in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Corey Dickerson (10) singles in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /
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The pundits are all over the Rays starting pitching for lack of performance, and I’ll be the first to say that the starting rotation has been out of sorts since day one of the season.

Would you have thought coming out of spring training that Chris Archer would be 4-10 with a 4.70 era at this point in the season for the Rays? However, as poor as the starters have been, the overall offensive performance has been just as bad.

The offense has been boom or bust. They are in the top five in baseball in home runs and the top five in striking out. What’s even worse is that the majority of the home runs have been solo blasts and the Rays have left an atrocious number of runners in scoring position. Who’s to blame for all this? Most everyone in the lineup has a piece of the blame.

Two hitters that are not to blame are Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria. Forsythe has settled into the leadoff spot despite missing a month and is getting on base and providing power. Longoria has found himself again and is on track to drive in 95 runs and hit 35 home runs. Also, he is hitting .270 and leads the team in doubles and runs scored.

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After that, things get a little iffy. After slow starts, Logan Morrison, Brad Miller and Corey Dickerson are starting to come around. Miller and Morrison have hit .260 over the past month and Dickerson, despite being a boom or bust guy, is second on the team in home runs and RBIs. However, the damage has been done as the trio was just terrible for the first two months of the season and set the tone for the Ray’s losing record to date.

After Miller, Morrison, and Dickerson, things go down hill. Desmond Jennings probably wouldn’t be with the team if there weren’t so many outfielders on the disabled list. After four mediocre years, he’s hitting .199 this season.

Tim Beckham may have some power potential as he showed last season but the Rays rarely play him, and he’s hitting .193 in 88 at-bats. Taylor Motter may someday be a Ben Zobrist type of utility player, but right now he’s overmatched at the plate and should be back in Durham working on his game. He’s hitting .171.

If you think those numbers are difficult to swallow, take a look at the rest of the roster. Jaff Decker, a Triple-A lifer, was hitting under .250 when the Rays purchased his contract. He’s hitting .138 for the Rays.

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Then there is Nick Franklin, who was hitting .250 at Durham and has yet to get a hit as a Ray this season. The team just acquired Oswaldo Arcia. He had some power but was available because he couldn’t make the worst team in baseball, the Minnesota Twins.

And last but not least, there is the catching position. The Rays went with Curt Casali and Hank Conger as an upgrade from Rene Rivera. Rivera hit .178 last year. Casali and Conger are hitting a combined .184 this year.

The Rays will get Brandon Guyer, Steven Souza Jr., and Steve Pearce back by the all star break and that will certainly help. However, the team could be 10 or more games out of first place in the Al East at that point and history shows that if you are that many games behind the leader in mid-July, you probably aren’t going to the post season.

Could all of this been prevented? It’s hard to say. Injuries are a part of the game, and they can slow any team down. However, an organization, even one with limited financial resources, has to do everything it possibly can do be competitive, and that includes not wasting $8 million by releasing James Loney and not wasting $3 million on a failed Desmond Jennings.

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It also means having talent at Triple-A so you don’t have to rely on the Jaff Deckers of the world. Matt Silverman and the Rays could have done better.

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