Welcome to the next installment of Tampa Bay Rays vs. the AL East. Today we focus on third base.
The Tampa Bay Rays have several high-quality players competing for time at the hot-corner in 2020. The Al East has some very quality depth at third base. While the Rays look to platoon several talented players in and out at third, the Red Sox and Blue Jays have two of the biggest young stars in all of baseball manning the position. Today we dive into what the boys from Baltimore have to offer in 2020. On Deck: Baltimore Orioles
AL East 2B Team Previews:
AL East 3B Team Previews
Baltimore Orioles Fangraphs 2020 Projected 3B WAR: 1.4
We all know that things are not pretty for the Orioles right now. Fangraphs has them projected to earn 1.4 WAR in 2020. That’s good for dead last in the American League and second only to the Pirates in all of baseball.
Rio Ruiz led the team in appearances at third base with 114. Hanser Alberto put in 66 with nobody else earning more than nine. It appears that Rio Ruiz is still the primary option heading into 2020 as Alberto is slated for second base duties.
Ruiz is entering his age-26 season in the majors and has a .219/.298/.353 slash line over 199 career games.
He did manage to hit 12 homers in just 370 at-bats last season, with seven of them coming in the last 48 games of the season.
Ruiz saw a power surge in the second half of 2019 as he raised his slugging percentage from .a lowly .328 to a very solid .462. There is limited competition for Ruiz this season and he should get one more real opportunity to prove himself at the major league level in 2020.
The Orioles can only hope that his momentum carries over from the back-half of last season.