Rays' Bright Future Could Include Wild-Card Spot In Top-Heavy AL

Thursday, March 7, 2019 4:28 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 7, 2019 4:28 PM UTC

The Rays may be one of the more underrated teams this season after acquiring some low-cost, high-upside pieces in the offseason. Could Tampa Bay challenge for a playoff berth?

 

<h2 style="text-align:center;">Tampa Bay Rays 2019 Preview</h2><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>World Series Odds: +3300 (<a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4492&amp;book=BetOnline" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">BetOnline</a>)<br />American League Pennant Odds: +1600<br />Season Win Total: 84.5</strong></p><p>The story of the Rays from top to bottom on both the hitting and pitching side is young talent with a sprinkling of veteran leadership. This is exactly the type of team that will go <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/mlb-baseball/" title="Live MLB Odds Board">undervalued ATS</a> during the season, especially with everyone so quick to put the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL Championship Series.</p><p>The Rays made some nice moves this offseason and, combined with the trades they have made over the last couple of seasons, their young prospects could bloom at the right time.</p><p>Tampa Bay needed to add some pop to its lineup and they addressed that this offseason by signing Avisail Garcia to be the DH. While losing Wilson Ramos, they traded for Mike Zunino to help stymie the loss of home runs from the catcher position.</p><p>Combined with all the moves they made last season and a deep farm system of major-league-ready talent, this team is stacked with young depth. If Tommy Pham and Austin Meadows have breakout campaigns, this team is going way over 84.5 wins.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Opening Day will be &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bumpday?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#Bumpday&lt;/a&gt;. &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/RaysUp?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#RaysUp&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/OPikFp7R2U\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/OPikFp7R2U&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/RaysBaseball/status/1103433482183888897?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;March 6, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><h2>Morton Gives Rays Another Ace</h2><p>The Rays fooled around with an “opener” a lot last season and ran a three-man rotation because outside of a couple of their pitchers, they didn’t have much in terms of starting pitching.</p><p>That should change a little this season because they brought in Charlie Morton on a two-year deal worth $30 million.</p><p>This deal serves two purposes. It gives them a credible No. 2 starter behind ace Blake Snell and it allows them to not put too much pressure on the young and very talented Tyler Glasnow. Those three guys are a nice 1-2-3 punch in a playoff series, if the Rays can get past the wild-card round. Also, don’t sleep on Ryan Yarbrough, who pitched extremely well as a rookie last year. This rotation should not be undervalued this season.</p><p>However, when the Rays do go to the bullpen for a start, they have ways to beat you without one of their top four pitchers on the mound. Yonny Chirinos, Ryne Stanek, and Adam Kolarek are capable of going long innings as an opener or early in the game out of the bullpen. If they can get the game to the seventh inning, Chaz Roe, Diego Castillo and Jose Alvarado are a nasty threesome to face in the last three innings if you’re trailing.</p><p>Most of the Rays’ Triple-A pitchers aren’t anything special maybe outside of Jake Faria, but this team also has a ton of A and Double-A pitching depth. If this isn’t the Rays' year, they could very well challenge for the division in a couple more seasons.</p><p>Still, <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/mlb/" title="Free MLB Picks">I think they are a good "over" play</a> in their season wins total. They are a better team than 84.5 suggests and even in a division where they have to face the Sox and Yankees 36 times, that leaves 126 games elsewhere. Even if they go 15-21 against the Sox and Yanks, they need to go only 70-56 in their other 126 games to cash the "over." That is a good win percentage for a team that could flirt with being a top-five team in the AL.</p><p><strong>Season win total pick: </strong>Over 84.4</p>
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