How the Tampa Bay Rays can fill the holes in the batting order

Tommy Pham (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Tommy Pham (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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Tampa Bay Rays
PORT CHARLOTTE, FLORIDA – MARCH 11: Yoshitomo Tsutsugo #25 and Austin Meadows #17 of the Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Rays finished 15th in runs scored last season. We take a look at the stats to try and figure out how they can improve the offense in 2020.

The Tampa Bay Rays need to find more productions outside of their first two hitters. The Rays were carried by their elite pitching staff last season, which included some phenomenal starters and the top bullpen in the game.

However, on the offensive side, the Rays ranked smack-dab in the middle of the league in runs scored.

Here’s a breakdown of how they fared compared to league average at each spot in the batting order.

1st Batter
TBR: .283/.358/.502
MLB: .265/.335/.445

2nd Batter
TBR: .283/.383/.502
MLB: .272/.345/.475

3rd Batter
TBR: .263/.333/.442
MLB: .267/.342/.480

4th Batter
TBR: .233/.306/.391
MLB: .260/.338/.479

5th Batter
TBR: .248/.314/.428
MLB: .256/.325/.451

6th Batter
TBR: .248/.320/.425
MLB: .254/.318/.431

7th Batter
TBR: .235/.286/.374
MLB: .245/.313/.406

8th Batter
TBR: .234/.295/.386
MLB: .236/.310/.392

9th Batter

A couple of things to note from these numbers. The Rays were not afraid to put their best hitters at the one and two spots in the lineup. They were below average in every spot except for ninth, because that included the National League and their silly hitting pitchers.

How can some of the new acquisitions assist the Rays with their deficiencies beyond the first and second spots in the lineup?

Austin Meadows earned 60% of his plate appearances from the one or two spot in the lineup. He was incredible, posting a leadoff slash of .307/.382/.582 and a two-hole slash of .343/.425/.727. His sOPS+ in each spot was 143 and 181 respectively. Meadows was a key piece in outpacing the league from the top spots in the order. You want your best hitters to get the most at-bats right?

Tommy Pham is a big loss. Of his 654 plate appearances last season, 550 came from the second spot in the batting order. How will the Rays replace Pham as one half of the one-two punch at the top?