2022 is a season many Rays fans want to put in the rearview mirror as soon as possible. The Rays went into 2022 with lofty expectations after winning 100 games in 2021 but ended up disappointing. With 2023 rapidly approaching, what three things must go right in order to avoid a repeat of 2022?
A healthy Rays team will be the most important, as the front office has, up to this point in the offseason, decided not to sign anybody to an offense that ranked 21st in runs, 25th in home runs, 21st in RBIs, 17th in average, and 20th in strikeouts.
Pitching and defense are the Rays' ways, plain and simple, but the Rays ranked 17th in errors in 2022. The Rays defense must make routine plays more consistently, and having a healthy Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco should help shore up the middle of the field.
In any sport, the name of the game is to score more runs than the opposing team, which the Rays struggled to do in 2022, and that was clearly evident in the American League Wild Card Series, where the Rays could only muster up 1 run in 24 innings.
The Rays will need to make more consistent contact with the ball and play more situational baseball if they want to come out on top of a loaded American League East and repeat as American League East Champions.