Category: MLB

RAYS HONEYWELL DIAGNOSED WITH TORN UCL, DUE FOR TOMMY JOHN SURGERY

Bad news for the Tampa Bay Rays as it was confirmed on Friday that top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell would have to undergo Tommy John surgery to fix a torn UCL incurred at a live batting practice session on Thursday.

 

Honeywell, 22, was only about ten pitches into his session when he threw a pitch and swore loudly before walking over to a trainer who accompanied him off the mound and into the clubhouse. The pitcher was reportedly aware of exactly what injury he had suffered before confirmation was given. In the aftermath of the incident, he was originally diagnosed with a right forearm strain.

 

The news comes on the heels of a series of trades and selloffs that have marked this off-season as a particularly difficult one for the Rays and potentially left the team severly shorthanded for the approaching season. Pitcher Jake Odorizzi was traded to Minnesota, outfielder Corey Dickerson to Pittsburgh, third baseman Evan Longoria to San Francisco and outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona. Souza is coming off the back of a breakout season that saw him set careers highs for runs, RBIs, stolen bases and home runs with 30. Longoria, a three-time All Star, had spent his entire career beforehand with the Rays, drafted with the third overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft and winning the American League Rookie of the Year, three Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger Award. He leaves with the franchise records for most careers RBIs and home runs.

 

One of the most promising pitching prospects in the country, Honeywell is expected to be on the shelf for more than a year following surgery in what is another huge blow to the Rays. The pitcher was drafted 72nd overall in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft and was participating in his first spring training as a member of the 40-man roster en route to a Major League debut. His last season with the Triple-A Durham Bulls saw him post a 3.64 ERA and 152 strikeouts in 123.2 innings. He also played in the All-Star Futures Game and was ranked the number 12 prospect in all of professional baseball by MLB.com.

San Diego Sports Broadcaster Moves to Tampa Bay

On Friday, FOX Sports Sun announced that they have hired a news sports broadcaster to join their team covering Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays. Michelle Margaux, a reporter from Fox Sports San Diego, will join the reporting team for the 2018 season.

A native of Fair Oaks, California, Margaux earned a degree in communication and political science from the University of San Diego. She began her professional career at KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi, Texas as a sports reporter and host of Friday Night Fever, a weekly series that highlighted the best in high school football. Margaux then moved to San Diego to work as a sideline reporter for Fox Sports San Diego. In 2016, she became the host of Padres POV, a weekly show that focuses on the off-field lives of San Diego Padres players.

In her new role at Fox Sports Sun, Margaux will be hosting the Inside the Rays television series and serving as the lead-in reporter for game television broadcasts. Margaux’s specialty is baseball. In the MLB, she has covered both the All-Star Game and the World Baseball Classic. She has also reported on high school and college baseball, as well as high school football and college basketball.

Margaux replaces outgoing reporter Alex Corddry, who left Fox Sports Sun after her contract expired in December. Margaux joins the Rays’ play-by-play commentator Dewayne Staats, expert commentator Brian Anderson and studio host Rich Hollenberg as part of the broadcast team.

Fox Sports Sun was founded in 1998 as the Sunshine Network. In 2015, the channel changed its name to Fox Sports Sun to reflect its ties with 21st Century Fox. In addition to the Rays, the channel also covers the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Florida Panthers, the Miami Marlins, the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic. In December 2017, Disney announced that they plan to purchase 21st Century Fox. The deal is currently awaiting approval. Once completed, Fox Sports Sun will be included under the umbrella of ESPN.

Rays Release 2018 Schedule and Times

One of the most exciting teams in baseball every year tends to be the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay Rays are well known for always putting a competitive team on the field despite the fact that they always have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. To make matters worse, they also have to compete in the same division with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, which are two teams that often have among the highest payrolls.

While the Rays tend to have a hard time keeping up in free agency, their unique and consistent ability to identify talent in the draft and through trades pays off every year. In 2017, they ended up finishing third in the division with a record of just under .500. Now the teams is returning a lot of talent and should be exciting to watch. Fans of the Rays recently received the final and full schedule for the 2018 MLB season (https://www.draysbay.com/2018/1/10/16875364/tampa-bay-rays-2018-game-start-times).

Fans of the Rays and the rest of baseball already have a lot of dates circled on their calendar. The Rays will open up the MLB season on March 29 against the Boston Red Sox with a 4pm first pitch. The team will then end up playing 9 of their first 12 games during the day to start the year. Once the season gets going and into May, more and more of the games will be played at night. The Rays will follow a pretty typical schedule with night games starting around 7pm and Sunday afternoon games start at 1pm.

There are a number of very big series that the Rays will have. The team will play their first 10 games against the Red Sox (7) and Yankees (3). This will give the team a good starting challenge and could allow them to get off to a great start. One of the biggest series of the season will come in July when the Rays will host the Miami Marlins for a three game set. This interleague battle is quickly becoming one of the top rivalries in the sport. Also in July will the annual All-Star game, which is going to be on July 17 and will be held in Washington DC at the Nationals stadium.

Local Baseball Player Pitches in Game 7 of World Series

Tonight, a local Tampa baseball player will play a significant role in tonight’s game 7 of the World Series according to http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/Tampa-s-Lance-McCullers-ascends-to-sports-ultimate-stage_162222895. Local baseball player, Lance McCullers will start for the Houston Astros as they face the Los Angeles Dodgers. McCullers will take center stage as he will attempt to help the Astros win their first ever World Series by defeating the Dodgers. Over the course of the postseason, Lance has performed quite well and will be counted on to help the Astros compete and hopefully win tonights’ game. Not only will he be helping the Astros, but also representing Tampa and the surrounding area. He was a top high school pitcher in the area when he was growing up. As a result, he will look to provide the local community with pride as he performs in the biggest game of the Major League Baseball season.

Lance will clearly be in the spotlight tonight as he will look to showcase his talents on baseball’s biggest stage. By pitching well in the game, he will be in position to prove to the nation that he is among the top pitchers in all of baseball. When pitching in games, he uses a curveball that has proven to be unhittable on many occasions. This has helped him shut down opposing lineups during the postseason. Tonight, he will need to use this curveball in order to slow down the formidable Los Angeles Dodgers lineup. When he was growing up, Lance developed this pitch from his father who also played in Major League Baseball as a pitcher. However, Lance Sr.’s career was ended prematurely due to problems with his shoulder. However, Lance Jr. will look to make his father proud by performing well in Game 7 of the World Series tonight.

During the postseason, Lance has performed at a high level. In the ALCS, he pitched six innings of two hit ball during Game 4. He shut down a top Yankees lineup in the process. In the decisive Game 7, he would pitch four scoreless innings in relief. His ERA for this postseason is only 2.95 which is among the best in baseball. Starting McCullers looks to be a good choice for the Astros as they will count on him to slow down the Dodgers and give his team a legitimate chance to win.

Tampa Bay Ray’s Fastballs

Over the last decade, Tampa Bay Rays have recorded more strikeouts than any other pitching staff participating in the American League. Jim Hickey has been their pitching coach for all that time. The coach has an experience of two decades as a coach and pitcher in the minors.

Hickey got to experience how the hitter’s view of a rising fastball in 2004 after joining Houston Astros. He stood against Roger Clemens in the batter’s box, at Clemens’ request. From his position, Hickey could see his challenger zoom through the finish line. According to him, Clemens would turn burn and boom! It was his first time, and he thought that the trajectory would be a ball low.

Fastballs do not rise. However, some of them defy gravity for a longer time than others, making them look like they are rising. Such fastballs usually are not the ones thrown with maximum effort, but the ones that spin the most. According to Jake Odorizzi, Rays’ right-hander, this kind of fastball is usually referred to as the ‘invisiball’. Even though you might be seeing it, it is often challenging to hit it.

Odorizzi and most of his teammates can perform the move. Last season, none of the hardest throwers pitched for Tampa Bay, yet a study by Fangraphs in March indicated that the Rays threw over 60 percent of their fastballs (four-seam) up in the zone. According to Rays’ starter Chris Archer, the players will have to pitch to their level best as it continues to be the team’s edge. Watching the Rays pull the ‘invisiball’ move remains to be the most enjoyable part of the game.

The Rays’ Move in New Acquisition

The Rays made a significant move that eventually lead to their success when they acquired Chaz Roe. Due the unclaimed through waivers and a lat strain, Roe has recovered after a long DL stay. He will go to Triple-A Durham, where the Rays will confirm his ability of what he demonstrated during the previous five seasons in the majors. Kevin Cash; the team’s manager said it was going to be a great mix since they were not used to throwing several balls in the bullpen, something that Roe has the experience to do.

With the top target being Justin Wilson of Detroit LHP, the Rays are consulting with many teams concerning bullpen help while casting a wide net, some rentals like Pittsburgh LHP Tony Watson and Pat Neshek of Philadelphia RPH are included. This calls for a high acquisition cost that includes Hunter Strickland of San Francisco and a right-handed bat that they are looking for. They have clarified that they feel good about the new members and are interested in their options that will be there in Durham.

The 30-year-old Roe previously played for Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Orioles, and the Rays will made great achievements by acquiring him. Meanwhile, Logan Morrison was honored to be selected by the MLB Players Alumni Association as the winner of the Rays’ Hustle and Heart Award, embodying the game’s traditions, values, and spirits. According to him, however, his focus his not on the award but that the Rays should win more games as he plays harder.

Will Rays Trade for Bullpen Help?

Tampa Bay is only a couple of games out of first place in the AL East, and right on their heels are the New York Yankees. With the race for the division crown red hot, the Bronx Bombers have put a huge amount of pressure on both the first place Red Sox and the Rays with their trade that brought slugging third baseman Todd Frazier and pitcher David Robertson (2.70 ERA, 13 saves) to the team. The pressure is now on Tampa Bay to try and do something to bolster its roster for the stretch run.

One area the Rays are looking at is their bullpen. Yes, Alex Colome has 28 saves, but his 3.71 ERA is a bit high for a closer. Tommy Hunter has done a tremendous job paving the way for Colome with a 1.88 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 28 innings. The rest of the bullpen, however, is suffering from sky high ERAs.

So who can help? One possibility is Philadelphia’s lone All-Star Pet Neshek. He’s 3-2 with a 1.17 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 38 innings. He’s also being targeted by Boston, so Tampa Bay may have to be quick to pull a trigger on any deal for Neshek.

Another pitcher in Tampa Bay’s sights is Justin Wilson. The Detroit closer is 3-3 with a 2.29 ERA and ten saves. With their recent trade of J.D. Martinez to Arizona, the Tigers have shown they are in fire sale mode and willing to deal their top talent. Your text to link…

No doubt one or both of these pitchers will help Tampa Bay’s bullpen, and perhaps give them the edge in the American League East race. The question is, who must the Rays give up to get them?

Tampa Bay Rays on the Rise

The Tampa Bay Rays are on the rise once again. While other teams wonder who they are, the Rays know. As a matter of fact, they have known their identity for most of the last decade which has led to a consistency when other teams ride highs and lows. It is also the reason they are once again battling the powerful Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in the American League East. With a modest $70 million payroll, they are smart because they know who they are and stay within themselves.

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports has them moving into his Top Ten MLB Power Rankings this week ahead of the Yankees. He explains his reasoning in this video clip https://sports.yahoo.com/mlb-power-rankings-surprise-al-east-contender-172241269.html . It’s easy to agree with the points he makes.

Chief among his reasons is their consistent and powerful offense led by Logan Morrison, Steven Souza, Jr, and Corey Dickerson. Morrison has 26 home runs, Souza has 18, and All-Star starter Dickerson has 17. They make a combined $6 million or so and have 61 homers not a hundred games into the season. Their pitching rotation features Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, and Jake Odorizzi. It has the second best ERA in the American League behind the Houston Astros. They play solid defense, don’t hurt themselves, win more than they lose, and keep themselves in the pennant race against the behemoths in the division.

The Rays are rising by knowing who they are. They pay their players what they can, create a consistent culture, embrace their identity, and remain true to themselves. They aren’t flashy but they are good. And while everyone else had their eyes focused on the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays are on the rise once again.

McKay is Rays #1 Draft Pick:

They might use him as a hitter, or they might use him as a pitcher. Either way, Tampa Bay picked up one heck of an athlete in the first round of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft.

 

With the fourth overall pick, the Rays selected Brendan McKay from Louisville. A first baseman and a right-handed pitcher, McKay has won the John Olerud award the last three years. The award is given annually to the best two-way player in college baseball. At the plate this season, McKay hit .343 with 17 home runs (four of which came in one game vs. Eastern Kentucky), 56 RBIs, 13 doubles, and 54 runs scored. On the mound, he was 10-3 with a 2.34 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 104 innings of work. McKay’s glove work also should not be overlooked as he had a .984 fielding percentage. Your text to link…

 

But the honors do not stop there. Baseball America selected him as its National Player of the Year, and he is also a finalist for the Dick Howser Award for college baseball’s top player. No surprise, he was voted the ACC Player of the Year. Before this season, McKay was an All-ACC First Team selection in 2015 and 2016, landed on a number of All-American teams, and was selected as the Collegiate Baseball Freshman of the Year. McKay’s selection by Tampa Bay comes as Louisville gears up for the College World Series.

 

The Rays have had a pretty decent track record with Number One draft picks. B.J. (now Melvin) Upton had a very productive time with the team before moving on to the Braves, Padres, and now Blue Jays. Evan Longoria is considered the face of the franchise, and David Price was a four-time All-Star and a Cy Young winner during his time in Tampa Bay.