Tampa Bay Rays roster outlook: Shortstop is set
By Austin Reimann
The uncertainty that surrounds a handful of positions on the Tampa Bay Rays roster does not extend itself to shortstop. Thanks to Willy “the Kid” Adames, shortstop is set, and after a strong second half he will be looking to lead the Rays to October baseball for the first time since 2013.
Prior to his debut in 2018, Willy Adames was a perennial Top-100 prospect in the game and the top prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays system. After coming over to the Rays as a product of the David Price trade, Adames waited what seemed like an eternity to make his debut. It was well worth the wait as the 23-year-old helped lead the Rays to their first 90 win season since 2013.
After the Rays afforded Adames the everyday role by designating Adeiny Hechavarria for assignment on the 1st of August, the young shortstop took off.
2nd half numbers: .303/.383/.435 // 7 HR // 25 RBI
Overall (85 games): .278/.348/.406 // 10 HR // 34 RBI // 109 OPS+
If we see numbers similar to this, Adames will quickly rise to be one of the top middle infielders in the game. He was worth 2.0 WAR in 2018 and I would expect him to double that in 2019.
As long as he is healthy we don’t need to even look at other possible options at short, but like third base, the Rays have plenty of options to fill in when Willy needs an off day. Daniel Robertson, Andrew Velasquez, and even Joey Wendle could fill in at short when needed.
The projections for Adames are a little scattered but there is a consensus is that he will hit for a bit of power. Across 85 games in Tampa last season he hit 10 bombs, and if we project that across a full 162 game season we could be looking at 15-20 bombs. With that type of production, Willy could prove to be a pivotal piece of the puzzle that is the 2019 Tampa Bay Rays.
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The future is bright for Willy Adames and the Rays at shortstop for years to come. Next up, Rays Colored Glasses will be breaking down second base.
Roster breakdown to this point: