Love it or hate it, advanced metrics have permeated the game of baseball, and often drive decision making for teams like the Tampa Bay Rays.
One stat that has become popular in recent years and appears to be a great maker of a players value is win probability added (WPA). WPA essentially captures how much a player impacts winning, and gives extra weight to production in key spots of a game. For example, if a player hits a walk-off grand slam, that play will be weighted more than if they hit a solo home run when they were down by 10 runs. Fangraphs gives an incredible explanation of the stat here.
For those who may be skeptical of the stat, as of 6/29, the top 10 players in WPA are the following: Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Yordan Alvarez, Manny Machado, Rafael Devers, Paul Goldschmidt, Ty France, Adolis Garcia, Trea Turner, and Anthony Rizzo. Outside of a few interesting names, this list captures the best players of the 2022 season.
Since WPA does a great job of measuring a players value to winning, it would be important to note where the Tampa Bay Rays position players rank on this list. Alarmingly, the highest ranking player on the list is Yandy Diaz, who ranked 97th in baseball with a -0.01 WPA. For reference, that is between an average and below average player in WPA for a season.
Although this stat is measuring those who have qualified for the metric thus far, the fact that one of the only Rays that qualifies ranks so low in baseball is a sign of a deep issue within the starting lineup. Not one player so far has been able to produce even a positive WPA for qualified players, and it makes sense considering the state of the Rays offense.
The Tampa Bay Rays need more players to step up and produce the rest of this season. Not only do they need consistent, higher level performances from their bats, but they need those hits in more timely situations as well. If this does not begin to happen soon, Tampa Bay will be no match for AL powerhouses like the Yankees and Astros come playoff time.