VS. Right-Handed Pitching
Austin Meadows leads the charge here with a 137 wRC+. It’s evident that Meadows is an everyday player. Brandon Lowe, who was quite bad against lefties, placed second on the team vs. RHP with a 133 wRC+ and a .269/.354/.514 slash. Hopefully, he replicates that production in his sophomore season with the Rays and perhaps improves against lefties. Meadows and Lowe are the only to players to post a wRC+ above 130 in their careers.
Ji-Man Choi comes close with a 127. Can you envision a platoon between Choi and Lowe or Martinez? Choi with .844 OPS against RHP and Martinez with .975 OPS against LHP. Here’s an article we wrote projecting their platoon production at first base and how it could easily be worth a 30+ homer season.
Willy Adames has hit a meager .205 against lefties, but when you consider that he led the league in defensive runs saved at one of the most demanding (if not the most) defensive positions in the game and he has a career 120 wRC+ against RHP… I think we’re all okay with his shortcomings against lefties.
Next up, here’s another reason to be excited about Jose Martinez. He has slashed .288/.350/.426 against RHP in his career. So yes, while he’s absolutely terminated lefties, he’s still well above average against righties.
Joey Wendle and Kevin Kiermaier finished tied at 103 wRC+. Comparing Kiermaier’s 103 against Margot’s team-worst 75 wRC+ against RHP sets up a really nice combination in center. Both are plus-plus-plus defensive centerfielders with KK being the better hitter against righties and Margot getting the advantage against lefties.
Names of note who scored below 100 wRC+
Yandy Diaz projects to be a major player for the Rays. If he’s going to provide the breakout season everyone is hoping for then he needs to outperform his 95 wRC+ against righties, whom he will face the majority of the time. For his career, Yandy is slugging just .402 against RHP.
Hunter Renfroe has slugged a solid .459 against RHP in his career but that’s about it. His on-base percentage is .271, that’s a little worse than Manuel Margot’s .286 career OBP against right-handed pitchers.
Kevin Cash certainly has a lot of toys to play with this season. It will be interesting to see how many different lineups the Rays roll out in 2020.
That’s a lot to manage… and we haven’t even discussed pitchers.