Category: Major League Baseball

Rays Once Again Competing for Division

For the past two decades, the most competitive division in Major League Baseball has been the AL East. In this time, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have won eight World Series titles, which has helped to make that rivalry the top in the sport. While the Red Sox and Yankees have been the top teams in the division, other teams in the AL East have also had some success. One of the most successful teams in this time period have been the quiet Tampa Bay Rays.

The Tampa Bay Rays have been well known for developing young talent and being able to compete with the top teams in the league, even though they tend to have a much lower payroll budget. This year, the Rays once again look like they could compete with anyone in the league (http://www.foxsports.com/florida/story/tampa-bay-rays-vs-oakland-athletics-game-preview-june-09-060917-2-060917). While the season is just a couple months young, the Rays have already shown that they can consistently stay above .500.

Through June 10, the Rays had 34 wins and 32 losses, which comes after they swept the Chicago White Sox. This currently makes them the fourth best team in the division and 5 games behind the Yankees. However, the Rays could also compete for both of the Wild Card spots, which they are just three games behind at this point.

The Rays have shown that they have one of the most talented teams in baseball. They also reportedly have one of the top farm systems in baseball, which could help them be good for the next decade. On the offensive side of the field, Logan Morrison and Corey Dickerson have been leading the team. Morrison is among the league leaders in home runs while Dickerson is looking like one of the most talented players in the game. The Rays also have a talented starting pitching rotation, which is led by Matt Anderson and Austin Pruitt, each of which have five wins and just one loss.

Rebuilding The Dynasty – Yankees Future Stars Report to Tampa in February

Major League Baseball’s most decorated franchise hasn’t added much to their “Yankee Mystic” lately. But, when pitchers and catchers report to Legends Field in mid-February, the buzz in Tampa will center on three new top prospects that will be wearing New York pinstripes.

 

 

In professional baseball, Keith Law’s list of top 100 prospects is one of the most respected. Heading into the 2017 season the Yankees spring roster will own 5 spots in his first 50, three of those superbly talented fielders.

 

 

 Heir Apparent to a Yankee Icon

 

It’s been two full seasons since Derek Jeter hung up his pinstripes. The greatest Yankee shortstop’s next stop will be Cooperstown, New York at the MLB Hall of Fame. Ever since their captain retired, Yankee faithful have wondered who will be the next star playing shortstop for the Bronx Bombers.

 

 

Gleybar Torres has the raw talent and all the tools. Already a slick fielder, Yankee scouts wonder whether Torres can produce at the plate. His fielding percentage has climbed each season, hitting .959% in 2016, while playing A-ball in Tampa.

 

 

Torres’ batting average has leveled out though, as the quality of pitching has increased. There seems to be little problem with his glove, so if his hitting improves, the Yanks will have their shortstop of the future.

 

 

Where Legends Have Roamed

 

Some of the greatest players in baseball history have roamed the outfield at Yankee Stadium. The next two highest rated MLB prospects in the Yankee fold are a pair of extremely talented outfielders, each making Law’s top 30.

 

 

Blake Rutherford is deemed the most talented player the Yankees have drafted since Jeter, considered by some experts to own top 5 rated skills. But, the most intriguing of all the young Yankees may be the kid tagged with the nickname “Popeye the Frazier Man”.

 

 

Clint Frazier already is deemed to possess one of the fastest bats in baseball. Although he has been a mild disappointment since coming over in a trade with the Indians, late last summer his bat started to improve over the last month.

 

 

Both Frazier and Rutherford have the raw speed to leg out extra base hits when they arrive at Yankee Stadium. Intriguing, considering the big gaps at “The House that Ruth Built”.

 

With a bevy of hard throwing pitchers already on the major league roster, and two more in this same top 50 prospects list, having three of the most highly touted fielders certainly gives pinstripe fans reason for hope. One thing about baseball in New York, there never seems to be too many years between champions, and these three youngsters may catapult the Yankees back to their customary prominence.

 

Wilson Defensive Award Went To Rays Kevin Kiermaier

This year the Wilson Defensive Award was won by Kevin Kiermaier, the celebrated centerfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays. Kiermaier was presented the Gold Glove award in New York City. On top of his fame based on his centerfield power plays, Wilson awarded him by choosing him as their lead defensive centerfielder. This was his second Gold Glove, but not quite the Platinum Glove he had hoped for. That award went to Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor for the SS and Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo for the NL.

 

The award came from Wilson to Kiermaier, based on both the traditional statistics and metrics on his defense, with the addition of advanced computing data. The number crunching was performed by the Inside Edge talent scouts. Every year Wilson gives awards out for each player position and defensive players. The overall defensive award went to Mookie Betts from Boston. The Defensive Team of the Year award went to the Giants. Kiermaier started his Major League Baseball (MLB) career in 2013.

 

Kiermaier has had a really sensational year, which has only built up his reputation for solid ball defense over the last three years. There is talk in MLB management circles that his young talent is going to become a valuable property for the team and overall for the team. In fact, he has already become a shining star in the pantheon of great ballplayers that have made Tampa Bay the great team it has become. It is quite a good thing that these awards nowadays are based more solidly on very well-kept and tracked statistics. It will be interesting to see where he finds his stride and matures in becoming a real team player that is also a lead figure. Some of his plays have been compared to some of the great ballplayers of the past, as if he was a new incarnation of Mantel or Mays. One thing is for sure: everyone in baseball is now aware of just how great a player Kevin Kiermaier is. Read more in this Tampa Bay blog article.

 

 

Rays Make Deals Before the Trade Deadline

The 2016 non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone. Needless to say, the Tampa Bay Rays were very busy in the hours leading up to the deadline. It is no secret that the 2016 season has not been a kind one to the Rays. A slew of injuries to key players and bad performances from others have made this one of the worst seasons for the franchise in quite a few years. Fans of the team knew that it was a distinct possibility that players would be heading elsewhere before the deadline. Being mired in last place for the entire season made it a foregone conclusion that the Rays would be sellers.

Brandon Guyer, Steve Pearce and Matt Moore were the three players who were traded to teams that still have playoff aspirations. Guyer was traded to Cleveland, Pearce was traded to Baltimore and Moore was traded to San Francisco. The best player that the Rays received in any of the three trades was Matt Duffy who came over from the Giants in the Moore trade. Rays manager Kevin Cash was asked by the media about the position that Duffy would play for his new team. Cash said that Duffy would most likely be seeing a lot of playing time at second base and shortstop because Evan Longoria is certainly not moving from third base. Cash said that it is unfortunate that the Rays had to be sellers at the trade deadline. However, these three trades will help the franchise in the future.

Tampa Bay Rays Beat Royals in 12-0 Blowout

The Tampa Bay Rays finally blew out the Kansas City Royals Wednesday night, taking the victory at home 12-0.

Steven Souza Jr., Brad Miller, and Kevin Kiermaier all left Tropicana Field with home runs for the day. Starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi brought home the win with his third scoreless start in a row.

This game signals a major change for the Rays, who have had a hard time with the Royals since the 2012 season, maintaining a measly record of 7 wins and 25 losses in that time. Furthermore, this is the first time the Rays have beaten the Royals this season, and it couldn’t come too soon.

“Figured out a way to beat those guys. They’ve given us everything we could handle and more,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said in a post game press conference.

Edinson Volquez, starter for the Royals, gave up Souza’s first home run since June 4 in the first inning of Wednesday’s game, which put the Rays up 4-0. Volquez was taken out of the game during the sixth inning, having given up 8 runs and 11 hits during that time. He later went on the record as saying, “They got me today.”

Kansas City gave up three errors during the game, in addition to giving up three runs. That makes this the third time this year the Royals have given up three error and at least twelve runs in a game.

The Rays play the Royals again on Thursday to conclude the four-game series.

The Rebuilding Has Begun for Tampa Bay

The Major League Baseball trade deadline apparently turned out to be the start of the rebuilding phase for Tampa Bay. Dwelling in the cellar of the American League East at 42-63 and 18 games out of first place, the Rays turned into sellers instead of buyers. They dealt left-handed pitcher Matt Moore, 7-7 with a 4.08 ERA and 109 strikeouts, to San Francisco in exchange for three players, one of whom could have an immediate impact for Tampa Bay. That’s 25-year-old Matt Duffy. Last season he hit .295 with 12 HR and 77 RBIs, and was the runner-up to the Rookie of the Year Award, which went to the Cubs Kris Bryant. This year, he started 66 games at third base for the Giants. Obviously, that same position is locked up by Evan Longoria, but Duffy is a versatile player who can play any infield position. Your text to link…

The other two players Tampa Bay got from San Francisco are prospects with big upsides. Shortstop Lucius Fox was one of the top international prospects of 2015, and the Giants signed him for $6.5 million. An mlb.com article rates him as a five-tool player. The Rays also got pitching prospect Michael Santos as part of the Moore deal. In ten games at Single-A Augusta, Santos, a 21-year-old Dominican, went 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 58 innings.