We stay in the Sunshine state for number #18 in our power rankings with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Projected Record: 80-82 4th in AL East
Potential Lineup: CF Kiermaier #39, 2B Forsythe #11, 3B Longoria #3, RF Dickerson #10, DH Morrison #TBD , 1B Loney #21, LF Jennings #8, SS Miller #TBD, C Casali #19
Potential Rotation: 1.Archer #22, 2.Odorizzi #23 3.Smyly #33, 4.Ramirez #30, 5.Moore #55
Potential Bullpen: CL Boxberger #26, 8th Colome #37, 7th Farquhar #TBD Mid Relief: Cedeno #31,Geltz #54, Romero #45, Andriese #35
Potential Bench: C Conger #TBD, OF Guyer #5, IF Beckham #1, IF/OF Pearce #28
Injuries: P Cobb #53, P Whitley #TBD
The Tampa Bay Rays are coming off a season where the team had the division lead at in late July yet were unable to stay relevant over the summer finishing with 80 wins missing out on October. The biggest struggle for Tampa in 2015 was the offense. The team finished 25th in runs scored and simply could not give their strong starting pitching enough run support. In hopes to improve the offense the Rays traded for three new bats that will enter the starting lineup for Tampa in 2016 in outfielder Corey Dickerson acquired in exchange for reliever Jake McGee. Dickerson only played 64 games in 2015 due to injury but batted .304 with 10 long balls while healthy, and batted .312 with 24 home runs in 2014. The Rays hope Dickerson will be a big middle of the order bat. The team also traded for Logan Morrison, and Brad Miller from Seattle. Both Morrison, and Miller aren’t guys who will hit for average but they do hit the long ball Morrison hit 17 a season ago, and Miller hit 11 a high number for a Shortstop. With these new bats to go along with franchise player Evan Longoria, and Logan Forsythe who hit .281 in a breakout 2015 season the Rays offense may be improved in 2016. As for the starting rotation the Rays probably have the best starting pitching in the American League East. Tampa finished 6th in the majors in starters ERA led by ace Chris Archer who struck out 252 batters, and pitched to a 3.23 ERA in an all star season the Rays have a number have talented young arms. Among those are Jake Odorizzi, and Drew Smyly. The Rays will also get Alex Cobb who was on the verge of becoming an ace before having Tommy John Surgery prior to the 2015 season back from injury at some point in 2016 making the rotation very dangerous. As for the bullpen the Rays finished 20th in bullpen ERA. However did realize they have an all star closer in Brad Boxberger. Boxberger got an all star nod in 2015 as he closed out 41 ball games for Tampa Bay. The Rays added to their bullpen by grabbing Danny Farquhar from Seattle. Though he struggled in 2015 with an ERA over 5 Farquhar has a career ERA under four and can be a solid late inning guy in Tampa Bay. Along with Alex Colome who had success in both the rotation and bullpen in 2015. The Rays pen will miss Jake McGee but should still be around the same as it was a year ago in 2016. Tampa Bay certainly improved their offense and have great starting pitching yet in a crowded AL East the Rays may not be a team ready to claim a division title quite yet.