Three advantages for Tampa Bay Rays in 60-game season
By Seth Carter
Tampa Bay Rays: The owners have pitched a new proposal to the players that involves a 60-game season, among other things. We take a look at ways the Rays can get creative in managing a short schedule.
Keep in mind, as of this writing, there is no deal in place. There is only speculation and information about a potential 60-game season. While we await real answers, let’s have some fun with that.
Let me just say, should the Tampa Bay Rays win the World Series in a 60-game 2020 season, you won’t hear me complaining. Yes, this season (assuming we get one) will be remembered as a unique situation and will always have a footnote, but it won’t detract from the eventual winner. History will always remember the team that walks away with the title as the champions.
Competition is about adapting to the rules in which everyone is operating under. The World Series started out in 1903 as a matchup of the National and American League Champions in a best of nine series. It was truly the best team from each league.
Those days are long gone.
Under the current wild-card system, we get joy and excitement but we don’t REALLY get the best team over the course of an entire season. So, baseball is about winning within the rules in which everyone operates. This year, the rules will be a little different. Teams can adapt and win or sit back and complain.
I have a feeling the Rays will end up on the “adapt and win” side of the fence.
CBS Sports ran an article this morning covering some interesting ideas on how this wacky season might play out. After reading that, you realize how the Rays fit the profile very nicely. Here are a few advantages the Rays have over many teams.
Tampa Bay Rays – Resting Players and Versatility
Teams won’t have the luxury giving star players extra days off as the season will pretty much start in a stretch run. However, if they do indeed cram 60 games into about 70 days, players will need some time off every now and again.
The Rays have a distinct advantage over most teams in this scenario because they have very few “everyday” players. Tampa Bay is the king of the platoons and matchup plays. Additionally, the Rays are bubbling over with multi-positional players completely capable of manning several positions.
Yandy Diaz can play either corner infield position. Nate Lowe lost 20-pounds and was getting work in at third this spring. Yoshi Tsutsugo can play corner infield and outfield. Utility players like Daniel Robertson and Joey Wendle will certainly come in handy. Last season in just 50 games, Mike Brosseau played five different positions, not including the four innings he pitched (ERA+ of 107)!
Don’t forget a guy like Brian O’Grady. He is on the 40-man roster, he set the Louisville Bats single-season home run record last year, has more steals than homers, and he can play 1B, 3B, and every outfield position, including centerfield. He’s a lefty that actually hits left-handed pitching better than right. He’s a prototype for the Rays way and could be a dangerous weapon in a wild 2020 season.
Tampa Bay Rays – Pitching Roles
How do you get the most of your best pitchers? If any team can handle their pitching workloads properly it’s the Rays. We could see games in which Yonny Chirinos opens up and Tyler Glasnow comes in as long relief if things get close. It could be like a video game out there in 2020. Managing workloads is going to go out the window in a 60-game season.
I’d give the advantage in pitcher utilization to the creators of the opener strategy.
Tampa Bay Rays – Prospects
I’ll keep this one brief. With expanded rosters and no minor league seasons, teams will want their top prospects to get work and will need all hands on deck in the big leagues. The Rays have the best farm system in the game. Could we see Wander Franco and Willy Adames manning the left side of the infield this season?
Are you looking forward to a potential 60-game season?