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ESPN’s Buster Olney pegs Tampa Bay Rays as his World Series favorites

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 26: Buster Olney of ESPN speaks on set the day before Game 1 of the 2015 World Series between the Royals and Mets at Kauffman Stadium on October 26, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 26: Buster Olney of ESPN speaks on set the day before Game 1 of the 2015 World Series between the Royals and Mets at Kauffman Stadium on October 26, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images) /
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Tampa Bay Rays News: Upon the announcement that we are having a season, media outlets are running wild. ESPN’s Buster Olney was on “Get Up!” this morning with Mike Greenberg when he picked the Rays as his World Series favorite.

Tampa Bay Rays News: The legendary baseball journalist Buster Olney went on ESPN’s “Get Up” to discuss the upcoming baseball season with host Mike Greenberg this morning. During the conversation, Olney acknowledged the talent of the Yankees and Dodgers but revealed the bottomless depths of his infinite wisdom when he informed the national audience that his World Series favorites were none other than the Tampa Bay Rays.

Olney pinpointed their “incredible bullpen” and talked about the depth of their position players that could really help out in a cramped schedule of 60 games in 70 days.

The Rays are absolutely loaded with multi-positional players and professional hitters up and down the lineup.

"Three advantages for Tampa Bay Rays in 60-game season"

Tampa Bay Rays – The Rotation

Don’t forget the three guys at the top of their rotation that stand up against any trio in the league.

Charlie Morton is the returning ace, and at 36-years-old is coming off of a little extra rest on the old body.

Tyler Glasnow got his command under control last season and became elite. He posted a 1.78 ERA over just 12 starts. His 2.3 WAR over 60.2 innings had him on a 200-inning pace of 7.6 WAR. That would have been 0.2 points better than Gerrit Cole’s.

Blake Snell dealt with some injuries last year but his numbers reveal that a lot of his struggles could be attributed to bad luck as he finished with 3.32 FIP and 12.4 Ks per nine. Regardless, if he’s anywhere near his 2018 AL Cy Young form, then the Rays will be absolutely terrifying at the top of the rotation.

The 30-man roster now pretty much guarantees that Brendan McKay, one of the top prospects in all of baseball will have an impact on the 2020 season.

Tampa Bay Rays – Best Bullpen in MLB

Oh by the way, they had the best bullpen in the game last season. Here’s a quick example of how incredible their bullpen was last year.

The other 29 major-league teams had an average of 603.23 relief innings used per team.

The Rays led the league with 772 relief innings.

Only two other teams even crossed the 700-inning threshold, the Angels (761.2), and the Blue Jays (729).

The other 29 teams’ relievers posted an ERA of 4.34.

The Rays’ bullpen led all of baseball with a 3.71 ERA, despite pitching 28% more innings than the average of the 29 other major-league clubs.

It’s even crazier when you consider they got less than half a season out of Nick Anderson.

"Tampa Bay Rays’ Nick Anderson: The Next Superstar Reliever"

I have to say, I agree with Buster Olney. It was refreshing to tune into ESPN this morning and hear someone acknowledge the powerhouse the Rays have built down here in St. Pete.

Sometimes they can get overlooked due to their effective use of platoons and the team’s ability to play the matchups. That style can lead to less of the traditional counting statistics that create the stars of the game but gets the best out of their players while putting a winner on the field.

Next. Why MLB.TV Should be Free in 2020. dark

Thanks, Buster! Make sure you check out his podcast Baseball Tonight for more great baseball content! It is one of my favorites.

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