Tampa Bay Rays Top Position Needs For 2023

Austin Hart
Wild Card Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Guardians - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Guardians - Game Two / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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Bench Depth

Another thing the Rays will need this season is some bench depth behind the position player starters. With the lack of activity during free agency, it's likely the Rays are looking to depend on their young talent to step up and become solid assets to the team. Players like Jonathan Aranda, Josh Lowe, Vidal Bruján, and even Curtis Mead could find themselves in larger roles if their offensive production at the major league level pans out well.

Josh Lowe began last season on the major league roster but seemingly wasn't quite comfortable yet hitting against major league pitching. Vidal Bruján was on and off the roster throughout the season, mainly due to other injured players, but started to show flashes of improvement at the plate towards the end of the year. Along with the other base stealers on the roster, his speed on the basepaths has proven to be a valuable asset. Jonathan Aranda seemed to be the most comfortable transitioning to major league pitching, getting off to a hot start in the several games following his debut. He also showed the ability to bounce around to multiple positions to fill lineup spots.

The most interesting factor here might be Curtis Mead. His hitting ability has been highlighted significantly over the last year, with slashes of.298/.390/.532 over 76 games with both Double-A and Triple-A. The Rays could be enticed by his offensive prowess to bring him on to the roster as a utility man. He's been known to play third base primarily but has the versatility to switch between second and first as well. With an invitation to Spring Training, he'll undoubtedly look to demonstrate his worthiness at the highest level in order to compete for a roster spot. Mead has certainly displayed the tools to be a great hitter in the minors, and the Rays are certainly hoping they can get that consistency to translate to the majors.

A good addition in free agency may have been a veteran presence to have in the locker room and a nice reserve piece to plug in when needed. I think somebody like Joey Gallo could have been a nice signing, but the Rays seem confident now that the young guns are the way to go. Especially with a factor as unpredictable as health, it's never been more important to make sure a team's depth can withstand the ups and downs of a season.

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