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MLB Betting – Tampa Bay Rays 2020 Season Preview

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:
Apr/08/2020

  • A young Rays team with a deep rotation should be enough to scare the Yankees

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We don’t know how the 2020 Major League Baseball season is going to unfold. One team that will benefit from a shortened schedule is the Tampa Bay Rays. They are young and have the deepest rotation in baseball, and they should scare the Yankees in the AL East. The Rays won 96 games last year to return to the postseason and have their sights set on bigger things this season.

2020 Tampa Bay Rays At A Glance

Tampa Bay Rays World Series Odds +1551

Tampa Bay Rays AL Pennant Odds +756

Tampa Bay Rays AL East Odds +315

2020 Tampa Bay Rays Overview

This is a franchise others aspire to be like. Tampa Bay puts together solid teams and has a pipeline of talent in the minors, doing everything without breaking the bank. Their 96 wins last year may have surprised some people, but the Rays showed they are a threat by pushing the Astros to the brink in the ALDS. Like they seemingly do every year the Rays manipulated their roster shipping Tommy Pham for some younger, yet talented players. That’s just how the Rays roll.

Making the playoffs last year for the first time since 2013, the Rays used timely at-bats and solid pitching to win at least 90 games for the second straight season improving their win total in each of the last three campaigns. And the young core feels better things are ahead. “I think we can do some really good things. I’m not saying it’s World Series or bust, but we have the capability of taking it all the way,” Tyler Glasnow said.

While the lineup will have a new look in 2020, the pitching staff returns virtually intact after topping the junior circuit and placing second in MLB with a 3.65 ERA. With full seasons from Glasnow and Blake Snell, the rotation will be better, and so will the Rays. But will they top the Yankees in the East? A shortened and/or condensed schedule favors the Rays and dropping some coin to win the division isn’t a bad move.

Pitching

They got just 35 combined starts from Glasnow and Snell and still sported the best ERA in the AL. Tampa pitchers also had the second-best strikeout rate and third-best walk rate in MLB last year. That says something about the arms on the staff. Knowing the group has the potential to throw strikes and silence bats, nearly everyone is back to take a turn on the bump.

The staff helped the Rays end their playoff drought led by Charlie Morton, who finished third in Cy Young voting going 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. He led the Majors allowing just 0.7 home runs per 9 innings. Over the last three seasons, the first two with Houston, Morton is 45-16.

How much success the Rays have will depend on the health of Snell and Glasnow. Coming off his 2018 Cy Young campaign when he won 21 games and flashed a 1.89 ERA, Snell missed two months after elbow surgery. He finished 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA in 107 innings. Glasnow bolted out of the gate with a 6-1 record and 1.86 ERA in eight starts before getting shutdown for four months with a forearm problem. He made 12 starts posting a 1.78 ERA over 60.2 innings.

It’s not often teams trade their closer, but not many teams have the arms available in the bullpen. Rays’ relievers led the majors with a 3.66 ERA and will look for a closer after Emilio Pagan was dealt. Pagan saved 20 games with a 2.31 ERA leaving Nick Anderson and Diego Castillo as his potential successor.

Hitting

This is an area that needs to be better for the Rays to win the division and reach the World Series. They weren’t bad last season finishing 12th in MLB with a .254 average and 18th in runs scored. As a group they also had the ninth-most strikeouts while clubbing just 217 homers. So why not trade away one of your more productive bats. Pham hit .273 with 21 homers and was dealt for Hunter Renfroe, who hit 33 homers in San Diego. The Rays got younger and added clout to their lineup. They also acquired Manuel Margot in a separate deal with the Padres.

The busy offseason also saw the acquisition of Jose Martinez. Just shy of hitting .300 for his career, the former Cardinal should help an offense that scored 4.71 runs per game in 2019. The Rays struggled against lefties last year and the three right-handed newbies will help in that department.

2020 Tampa Bay Rays Season Pick

The Rays don’t hurt themselves, which is another strong point in an abbreviated campaign. They were one of the better defensive teams last season and probably improved in that department with their new players. The staff benefits and getting full seasons from Snell and Glasnow to go along with Morton and the other arms, makes the Rays a team to watch in 2020.

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