Sportsmemo's MLB Betting Preview: Tampa Bay Rays
Submitted by Alatex Sports
Tags: MLB Tampa Bay Rays Brent Crow
Tampa Bay Rays
2016 O/U Wins (Westgate):
2016 AL East Odds (Westgate):
Projected Starting Rotation:
Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly, Erasmo Ramirez, Matt Moore
John Jaso, Daniel Nava, Nate Karns, Asdrubal Cabrera
Cory Dickerson, Hank Conger, Logan Morrison, Steve Pearce
Handicapper's Take: "After four straight 90+ win seasons, the Rays have finished fourth in the AL East with 77 and 80 wins, respectively, the last two years. This organization has always been up against it in terms of budget compared to the rest of the division. Pitching and defense have been key ingredients for success and if the Rays are going to be competitive beyond the All-Star Break, they'll need to produce in both areas because the everyday lineup is lightyears behind the rest of the division.
Despite having a below average bullpen and various key injuries, the Rays finished fourth in the AL in ERA (3.74). This year's rotation has a lot of promise led by ace Chris Archer who enters his fourth season as a full-time starter. Jake Odorizzi has proven capable of being a second-tier arm in the AL following last year's stellar 3.35 ERA. Erasmo Ramirez doesn't miss many bats (6.94 K rate) and probably overachieved last season (3.75 ERA) but at 25 years old, it's reasonable he can be a 180 IP/4.00 ERA arm. What will determine the fate of the staff (and the team) lies in the health of lefties Drew Smyly and Matt Moore. Smyly has lots of upside but hasn't been able to shake the injury bug. He's tossed only 114 innings the last two years and less than 400 IP for his career which is a shame considering he shows a 3.24 career ERA with nearly a strikeout per inning. Moore is proof that returning full strength from Tommy John is no sure thing. He missed nearly all of 2014 and the first half of 2015. He struggled in limited time last season (12 starts, 5.43 ERA). Reports out of spring training say that he's close to pre-surgery form. And there's also Alex Cobb who missed 2015 and could return post-All Star Break. It's somewhat of a positive that without Cobb and a less than 100 percent Moore, the Rays still won 80 games.
Out of 15 AL teams, the Rays finished 9th in OBP, 10th in SLG, and 11th in OPS. Those numbers actually don't line up with the team's run production as only the White Sox scored fewer runs in the AL. This year's lineup features some potentially modest upgrades with Corey Dickerson and Steve Pearce capable of 15+ home runs. The same holds true for newly acquired Logan Morrison. From 2010-13, Tampa averaged over 90 wins and yet ranked 3rd, 8th, 11th, and 9th in the AL in runs scored. As mentioned, last year's offense probably wasn't as bad as their overall run production indicated.
The schedule starts of tough with six series within the division the first month of the season. However, 19 of their first 27 games at home. It wouldn't shock me to see this squad turn a healthy profit during that span."
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