In order to succeed, the Tampa Bay Rays rotation may need to be their strength.
The Tampa Bay Rays have always been known to develop young pitchers into stars. From James Shields to David Price and now Chris Archer. It has always been the Rays way and seems to keep working. This year the pitching staff should bounce back from a disappointing 2016 season.
As mentioned before, Chris Archer is a young star in the MLB. He can strike out anyone and has the confidence to be the ace of the staff. In 2015, his name was being mentioned as a possible Cy Young candidate, while that didn’t pan out he still had a terrific season. However last season was a down year for him. He was one of the league leaders in strikeouts but his ERA jumped to over 4.00 and he led the MLB in losses. Archer lost many close games and did not have a ton of run support from the offense once he allowed a run. He should be able to turn things around this season and should have the hitting behind him to help him get more wins.
Another key piece to the rotation is Alex Cobb. He was able to start a handful of games last season but was not at full strength. He missed the entire 2015 season and the beginning of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery. Once he returned he wasn’t himself on the mound. His ERA skyrocketed to over 8.00 and he could not pitch deep into games. Before Cobb got hurt in 2014, he had an ERA of 2.87 and in 2013 he had a career best ERA of 2.76. Now with a full offseason he should be at full strength and most likely will have his confidence back to become the dominate pitcher that he once was.
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The staff also includes young up and coming pitcher Jake Odorizzi. He just completed his third full season in the major leagues. He has continued to maintain a steady and good ERA and has been a consistent pitcher. He should continue to keep improving and eventually become a dominant pitcher in baseball.
Matt Andriese is a consistent pitcher in the starting rotation. He has been in the majors a couple of seasons but has not seen a ton of action until last season because of all the pitching depth the Rays have had. In the past he hasn’t been dominant but also has not made a ton of mistakes. Every staff needs a consistent pitcher that they can count on and Andriese is just that for the Rays. He should be able to keep improving with more experience and the Rays are hoping he can do just that to continue to keep helping the team.
Last but not least is the youngest pitcher on the staff Blake Snell. He just completed his rookie season and has shown much potential. As any young pitcher he struggled at times, but overall looked decent as a rookie. Pitching coach Jim Hickey will continue to work with him and should be able to turn him into one of the Rays top pitchers. Snell has the size and a hard fastball to make him successful, but just needs more time and experience to continue his growth to make him elite.
Overall, the Tampa Bay Rays have a staff of young pitchers or recently injured guys. With a full offseason and continued training all the pitchers on the staff should be improved this season and be getting closer to their full potential. Opening day is six weeks away and fans are looking forward to a promising season in Tampa Bay.