Tampa Bay Rays Young Rotation a Wild Card

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, February 17, 2018 6:34 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 6:34 PM UTC

Our MLB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, takes a turn south in the AL East to take a look at the Tampa Bay Rays. Do they have the roster to surprise in win total futures markets again in 2018?

We will be breaking down each division team by team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today we will take a look at the Tampa Bay Rays out of the AL East. The Rays went comfortably over their 77.5 total line with an 80-win season in 2017. The market is exactly the same in 2018 with a win total line set at 77.5 at BetOnline.

Pitching Staff:

The Rays pitching rotation is anchored by a bona fide ace in Chris Archer, who is projected to put up 4.4 WAR and 3.49 FIP. His good pitching in 2016 and 2017 was not evident in the win column though, as he accrued a 9-19 record in 2016 and 10-12 record in 2017. Don’t be fooled by that as Archer’s K/9 and BB/9 rates both improved in 2017. Following Archer as a solid #2 starter is Blake Snell, who if can stay healthy has great stuff. He finished the season with a 13-strikeout performance in the Rays last game, and the 25-year old is projected to have his best season yet in 2018. The rest of the rotation of Odorizzi, Faria, and Eovaldi is young, and also capable of high variance results. If two out of three of those pitchers have good seasons the Rays could surprise in 2018.

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You heard the man. pic.twitter.com/GYm5eoTZBH

— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) February 16, 2018
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Lineup:

Only Kiermaier projected for a full season’s at bats in the Rays current lineup. The departure of Logan Morrison to free agency has put a 3.3 WAR hole in the projections, and currently the depth chart has Brad Miller slotting at first base and putting up only 1 WAR. Using the wRC+ metric, the Rays are only looking at having three above average hitters in their lineup with Steven Souza Jr. at 102, the before-mentioned Brad Miller at 102, and DH Corey Dickerson at 103. What the Rays lack in power they make up in defense though, with speedsters like Denard Span delegated to left field behind Kiermaier’s prowess there. They should be looking for another hitter as spring training progresses though and should be in the conversations to bring Logan Morrison back.

Wild Cards and Betting Trends:

Jake Faria is a starter that I will be wagering on in 2018, as he put up 1.3 WAR in just 86.2 innings in his first MLB action in 2017. If he can continue this success over a full season he could easily improve on his 1.5 WAR projection. Either way, I can calculate now that the Rays should sit comfortably Over their 77.5 in my projection models, so as of now there is a strong lean to the Over in season win total futures.

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