Tampa Bay Rays: 3 players who need to step up in Jeffrey Springs' absence

Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays
Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages
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Taj Bradley

Bradley has done everything right in his efforts to grab hold of a spot in the Rays' starting rotation so far. After being recalled and making the start in Tuesday's game, he did more than enough to warrant his long-term inclusion in this starting rotation.

Entering the year as the No. 18 prospect in baseball (per MLB's pre-season rankings), Bradley has been highly impressive through two starts. In his big league debut against the Red Sox, he went five innings and struck out eight batters. On Tuesday aginst the Reds, he went 5.1 innings and struck out nine.

Ever since he found his footing on his journey to the big leagues, it's been apparent that one day Bradley would be a major weapon for this Rays team. In 2021, he made 23 appearances and had a shocking 1.83 ERA with 123 strikeouts in 103 innings. He following this up with 28 starts and a 2.57 ERA last year.

Here we are in 2023 and the 22-year-old is up in the big leagues. His promotion was more about how exceptionally he was pitching in the minors than a lack of depth elsewhere on the Rays' pitching staff. Now that he's here, expect him to be the third cog in a lethal trio alongside Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen.