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Tampa Bay Rays: Line Drives the Good and Not so Good

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Line drives are an integral part of the game and for the Tampa Bay Rays there are players that have been an integral part of the team and then there are some that have not.

Line drives are an integral part of baseball, especially when it comes to the games of the Tampa Bay Rays.

It’s a hard hit ball that may fall for a hit or a fielder may catch it.

If you are a hitter, the former is a positive moment and latter is not so good. This can apply to players as well as hitting.

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Some have played well this season and some have not. Let’s take a look at some of the Tampa Bay Rays’ players who have played well and a few who did not.

Logan Morrison: Why is Morrison still on the roster? A disaster since day one and a free agent at the end of the year, Morrison has no value to the Tampa Bay Rays at this time.

Two trading deadlines have passed and he has been relegated to the bench, but he still takes up a roster spot that could be devoted to a Triple-A prospect.

Trade him for a case of sunflower seeds, save the rest of his salary and move on.

Enny Romero: Romero has always had a ton of talent but couldn’t put it together as a minor league starter or a major league reliever.

He went on the DL in August for a back strain and during that time worked on refining his delivery.

The result has been nothing short of phenomenal as he has been un-hittable in his last few outings.

He should be an important part of the bullpen for the next few years.

Corey Dickerson/Steven Souza Jr.: The Tampa Bay Rays have made a significant improvement to their infield this season. However, the outfield needs work.

Kevin Kiermaier is  solid in center-field but the corners leave something to be desired. Dickerson and Souza simply strike out too much. This season Dickerson has a .283

Dickerson and Souza simply strike out too much.

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This season Dickerson has a .283 OBP and 104 strikeouts in 400 at-bats and Souza has a .289 OBP with 144 strikeouts in 409 at-bats.

That means between them they have made an unproductive out 31% of the time. They need some serious work on their approach at the plate.

Nick Franklin: I can be tough on the Tampa Bay Rays players when they don’t perform well and I sure was rough on Nick Franklin.

However, I’m the first to admit when I am wrong and it looks like I was wrong when it came to Franklin.

Since his return from his latest exile to Durham, he has been on fire. He has a .306/.374/.523 slash line while playing four different positions.

At this point, Franklin is in the lead to be the Tampa Bay Rays super-utility man and could end up as a regular corner outfielder.

Kevin Kiermaier: You really have to like the way Kiermaier is adjusting to his role as the number two hitter in the batting order.

He’s bunting, working the count, hitting the ball to all fields and being an aggressive base runner.

He still needs to get his on-base percentage into the .350 range but in general, he is solidifying the top of the Rays’ batting order.

Triple-A prospects: Expect the Tampa Bay Rays to call up Mikie Mahtook, Taylor Motter and Richie Shaffer after Durham’s season ends next Monday.

The question is how and how much the Tampa Bay Rays will use them.

Mahtook should get plenty of time in left-field and right-field as they try to figure out if he is a fourth outfielder or more.

Motter probably won’t play a lot.

Shaffer is the real question mark as the Rays really want to find out about his bat so I suspect he will DH and play first against lefty pitching.

He has incredible power but hasn’t been able to put it all together at Triple-A.

As you can see much of this is about next year.

The Rays need to continue developing their young players in the minors and those on the current roster.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Baserunning Blunder Costly for Beckham

If they can make one or two smart moves in the off-season and have a spring training that will form a team, the 2017 season could be very productive.

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