Tampa Bay Rays: Clearing the Hurdles, 2019 Retrospective Part One

By Seth Carter
Kevin Kiermaier (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
Kevin Kiermaier (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /
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Kevin Kiermaier (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Kevin Kiermaier always brings the spectacular defense, but his bat frustrates us all. It would be easier to take the good with the bad if he wasn’t one of the highest-paid players on a cash-strapped team. Only Charlie Morton earned more than KK last season. The worst part about Kiermaier’s bat is the flashes he’s shown.

He’s had stretches where many have thought he could turn into a 20+ homer/20+ steals per year threat. Instead, he continued a downward trend with the bat in 2019, hitting .228/278/.398 with 14 homers and 19 steals. Kiermaier’s struggles with injuries continued as he logged only 129 games – which was the only time he exceeded 100 games in three years.

Kiermaier’s glove makes him worth the price of admission, and we are all thankful to have him. We continue to hope he can stay healthy and put it all together with his bat. Unfortunately, that remained just a hope in 2019. Here’s to 2020!

Mike Zunino – Except for the occasional home run, Zunino has never been a good hitter in the Majors. 2019 was particularly bad. Zunino has a career .202 average and he actually set his career-low last season with a .165.

Excluding the games against the Yankees, the Rays had a 2019 record of 89-54 (.6223).

The Rays were a very good team but only went 7-12 against the 2019 AL-East Champion, New York Yankees. A wise philosopher once said, “in order to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man!  Wooo!” Well, the Yankees are the man.

Injuries were a huge part of the 2019 season for the Tampa Bay Rays. Name an important piece and there’s a good chance injury had an impact on his season.

Tommy Pham was dealing with a broken hand in the final month of the season.

Brandon Lowe was on pace for over 30 homers prior to his July injury.

Blake Snell dealt with some elbow issues and only pitched in 107 innings.

Yonny Chirinos and Yandy Diaz had the heads cut off of their breakout seasons due to injuries.

It was certainly a lot to overcome in 2019, and that’s just to get back to 90 wins. How did the Rays clear all of these hurdles and become an even better team in 2019? The next article will take a look at who stepped up and how the Rays were able to put together a 96-win season.

Next. 2019 Review Part Two: Clearing the Hurdles. dark

What disappointed you about the 2019 season? Let us know in the comments below!