Rays News

Projecting the Rays Opening Day roster ahead of spring training

By Jimmy Goodman
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 14: A detailed view of a Tampa Bay Rays hat and catching glove is seen on a dugout step during the sixth inning of the MLB game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2019 in Anaheim, California. The Rays defeated the Angels 3-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 14: A detailed view of a Tampa Bay Rays hat and catching glove is seen on a dugout step during the sixth inning of the MLB game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2019 in Anaheim, California. The Rays defeated the Angels 3-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
2 of 6
ATLANTA, GA – JULY 30: Catcher Mike Zunino #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws to first base for the out in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on July 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Zunino returns in 2021 needing a big performance turnaround to save his starting job. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA – JULY 30: Catcher Mike Zunino #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws to first base for the out in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on July 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Zunino returns in 2021 needing a big performance turnaround to save his starting job. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Catchers

Mike Zunino

After being a team detriment over the last two seasons carrying a 49 OPS+ and bWAR line below replacement level, Mike Zunino is back in Tampa as the veteran option at catcher. Possibly more disheartening than his action at the plate is what he does behind it where, according to Baseball Savant, Zunino ranks 54th of 62 qualifying catchers at framing non-swing pitches for strikes.

We’ll have to see if Zunino’s massive raw power profile finally proves itself in 2021, but the last two campaigns have inspired little confidence.

Francisco Mejia

Francisco Mejia, who was once one of the best catching prospects in the game, latches onto Tampa Bay as a result of the Blake Snell trade. Likely the first player to make an impact among the four-player haul, Mejia will need to show more consistency than he has thus far in order to dethrone Zunino.

In parts and pieces of major league action dating back to 2017, Mejia has an OPS+ below 80 and despite the Rays obvious positional need he has been prognosticated for a move to a corner infield or outfield position. That doesn’t stop the switch hitter from having the occasional web gem, however.

facebooktwitterreddit