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Tampa Bay Rays Key Players for the 2017 Season

By David Hill
Mar 26, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) and right fielder Mallex Smith (0) smile as they run back to the dugout against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) and right fielder Mallex Smith (0) smile as they run back to the dugout against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Erasmo Ramirez – Reliever

Last year, Andrew Miller changed the face of relief pitching during the postseason. As we head into 2017, more teams are looking for a fireman of their own.

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However, before Miller was successful in that role for the Indians, the Tampa Bay Rays had already attempted to resurrect the fireman. Erasmo Ramirez was given that role last season, as he would come into the game regardless of the situation to quell any possible rallies.

He ended up pitching in virtually every role for Tampa Bay, even making a start and saving two games. In his 90.2 innings, Ramirez had a 3.77 ERA and a 1.279 WHiP, striking out 63 batters. He may not have been a dominant force, but he was still a solid pitcher, giving the Rays the type of quality relief they needed.

Heading into the 2017 campaign, Ramirez may need to fill that same sort of role. The Rays do not really have anyone who could perform as a fireman, leaving him as the best possible option. With his ability to pitch multiple innings, and extreme ground ball rate, Ramirez could be the key piece of the bullpen.

Next: Rays DFA Nick Franklin

Erasmo Ramirez may not attract much attention, but he will be a vital bridge to the back of the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen. While he may not be Andrew Miller, he could fill that same sort of role.

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