Tampa Bay Rays (42 days until pitchers and catchers report)
It is a slow time in baseball right now and a lot of baseball team blogs are struggling to find things to write about. To fill the time, most of these sites are (over)analyzing 2007 and picking apart the numbers and delving deeper in the endless foray of the new age statistics. Other sites are assigning rankings to dozens of minor league prospects that they have never seen play and probably couldn’t pick out of a police lineup. Of course, if they decide to take a week or two off during the holidays, the natives get restless. We can’t risk that, so we will now bring back “The Hangover” and analyze the 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays by the numbers…Ready? OK, here goes…66-96. Done. Let’s move on.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • For those that have asked. No. Mrs. Professor did not give me a dog named Herpes for Christmas (although she wanted to). [What I absolutely love]
  • There is yet another new Tampa Bay Rays blog written by somebody that is not a fan of the team. Nothing wrong with that…Just sayin’…In the latest post, they discuss the Rays’ bullpen and how to improve it (Apparently steroids is no longer an option). The post is fine and dandy until we read “Bill Chastain, an eminent MLB.Com reporter…” Eminent? I do not think that word means what you think it means. We read everything by Chastain. A lot of it is very good. A lot. is. crap. Also, we are confused by the name of the new blog. Where does “Dough” come into this? Is that Dough as is in bread? Or Dough as in money? Is it a metaphor? And does the title mean the blog will only be around for one year? And does the blogger know that 2008 is a leap-year? Will he take one day off this year? Does he already know which day? [365 Days of Dough, Rays, and Me]
  • A little old, but Baseball Prospectus gives us the Rays’ Top 11 prospects, and the list includes five 5-star prospects. We are glad to see that some still consider Reid Brignac an elite prospect. And having seen both Wade Davis and Jake McGee pitch, we have our money on Davis being the better major leaguer. McGee’s only advantage over Davis at this point is being left-handed. [Baseball Prospectus]


Five-Star Prospects
1. Evan Longoria, 3B
2. David Price, LHP
3. Wade Davis, RHP
4. Desmond Jennings, CF
5. Reid Brignac, SS
Four-Star Prospects
6. Jacob McGee, LHP
Three-Star Prospects
7. Eduardo Morlan, RHP
8. Jeff Niemann, RHP
9. Jeremy Hellickson, RHP
10. Fernando Perez, CF
11. Ryan Royster, OF

  • In addition, hidden behind the Baseball Prospectus member wall is the list of the Rays top players under the age of 25, which they call “a borderline obnoxious collection of excellent young talent”. We love that Dioner Navarro is ranked so high. As you know, we are still big believers in Lil’ Pudge. [Baseball Prospectus]

1. Scott Kazmir, LHP
2. Evan Longoria, 3B
3. David Price, LHP
4. B.J. Upton, CF
5. Matt Garza, RHP
6. Wade Davis, RHP
7. Desmond Jennings, CF
8. Reid Brignac, SS
9. Dioner Navarro, C
10. Jacob McGee, LHP

  • DRaysBay interviews Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus about their list of the top prospects in the Rays organization. If you only marginally know the Rays farm system, this is a must-read. [DRays Bay]
  • Bill Chastain interviews Jacob McGee. [DevilRays.com]
  • Jayson Stark looks at how the Tampa Bay Rays plan to keep up with the heavyweights in the American League and speculates that they will be able to win 90 games in 2009. [ESPN]

Maybe nobody on the outside takes this team seriously. But within the sport, the Rays are already a source of rapidly loudening buzzing. Offensively, they just outhomered the Red Sox, outscored the Blue Jays and outstole all but two teams in the league. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, their stockpile of young pitching is up there with anyone’s. So this is a team with a chance to win 90 games by 2009. Whether it can ever spend $90 million to keep that group intact is another story. But for now, the Rays are locked inside that tunnel vision. They’re all about development and more development.

  • The Sporting News features Evan Longoria as one of “Baseball’s next wave of stars”. [The Sporting News]
  • Fox Sports lists Scott Kazmir and James Shields as one of the top 10 pitching duos in baseball. [Fox Sports]

You don’t find many 23-year-old lefties who are capable of leading the league in strikeouts, but Kazmir is just that. He’s always had tremendous gifts on the mound, and now the numbers are following suit. If he stays healthy, then Kazmir’s going to win multiple Cy Youngs in his career. The trade that sent him from the Mets in exchange for Victor Zambrano is going to turn out to be one of the steals of the decade. As for Shields, he’s a four-pitch, command guy who turned in an exceptional first half. Matt Garza’s eventually going to replace him as the No. 2 man in the Tampa rotation, but right now Shields is a nifty complement to Kazmir.

  • The Rays have set up a website for the proposed stadium along the St. Pete waterfront. [MajorLeagueDOWNTOWN.com]
  • Small world. Ben Zobrist and I were both in Iowa City, Iowa on Christmas Eve, although we were gone by the time Zobrist spoke at a Christmas Eve service where his wife Julianna sang. [Iowa City Press-Citizen]
 
 

5 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    FINALLY!! welcome back!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow, No mention of Josh Hamilton being traded to texas and him coming to the trop for the first time, surprised since I know how much Raysindex loves J-Ham.

  3. The Professor says:

    I thought that story was a little too stale. Will talk about it more when the series approaches.

  4. Marc says:

    Hi, thanks for the brief reference. I love your blog.

    For your further understanding of my blog, also covering the Rays, the title refers to “dough,” as in money. The Rays are often faced with several financial issues – most recently concerning Scott Kamzir. Also, I will only be keeping the blog for one year (as stated in my initial post, ‘Why the Rays?’)

  5. Jake says:

    Kamzir? Yeah…that’s just peachy.

    As for us doing our rankings, why not? Are we supposed to wait until other sites do their’s?

    Not a chance.

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