From Postseason to Rookie of the Year Part 2

By Joseph Koetters
Division Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Two
Division Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Two / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages
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The baseball world was really introduced to Randy Arozarena during his electric 2020 playoff performance. In 2020 Arozarena finished the postseason hitting .377 with 10 HRs, 29 hits and 19 runs across 20 games. He took the baseball world by storm and continued his dominating performance by winning Rookie of the Year in 2021. It seems that another Tampa Bay Ray could be following the same scheme in 2022.

Shane Baz dominated the minor leagues before finally making the jump to the big leagues. In 2021 across AA and AAA ball, Baz threw 78.2 innings, striking out 113 hitters while only walking 13 and posting a 2.06 ERA on the year. He dominanted the minor leagues as a 21 year old and while no one is really expecting the same dominance next year, Baz is in a great position to compete for the Rays 5th Rookie of the Year since 2008 (Other winners include Randy Arozarena, Wil Myers, Jeremy Hellickson and Evan Longoria).

Baz made his major league debut on September 20th of the 2021 season against the Toronto Blue Jays where he threw 5 innings of 2 hit baseball (both hits happened to be home runs) and struck out 5. Baz is the number 1 prospect in the Rays system and number 19 in the top 100. Baz boasts a fastball that averages 97 MPH, a plus sider and a curveball that has topped out at 55 inches of vertical break.

Baz is only 22 years old and with Tyler Glasnow sidelined until 2023, he looks to compete for the 5th rotation spot along with Luis Patino. Worst case scenario, Baz should see significant time as a bridge arm and should lead the way on bullpen days before propelling himself into the rotation. Assuming minimal health issues, Baz gives himself a strong case to compete for American League Rookie of the Year with the likes of Bobby Witt Jr., Spencer Torkleson and Reid Detmers.

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