The New York Times has a solid read on Joe Maddon’s use of the defensive shift. The piece talks a lot about how the Rays use the shift in unconventional ways against players and in situations that are not necessarily a typical threat.
But the best part might be this stat: Last year the Rays saved 85 runs with their defense, and that was a lot. But according to John Dewan, co-author of “The Fielding Bible,” the Rays have already saved 28 runs in 29 games this season. At this rate, the Rays would save about 156 runs with their defense. That would be worth 15-16 (!) wins in the standings.
In other words, if the Rays had the pitching staff and the hitters of an 81-81 team, this defense, along with the defensive shifts would turn that team into a 96 or 97-win team.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Desmond Jennings has a knee sprain and is day-to-day. He is also with the team on their roadtrip. [TampaBay.com]
- Kyle Farnsworth is playing catch, and Jose Lobaton will see action in extended spring training this week. Also, Hideki Matsui is expected to play in an extended spring game in Port Charlotte on Wednesday. [TampaBay.com]
- Rays minor leaguer Drew Vettleson already has 10 outfield assists this season. That is tops in all of baseball, majors or minors. [Biscuit Crumbs]
- Jeremy Hellickson and Joe Maddon discuss the young hurler’s new cutter and how he needs to use it less. [TBO.com]
- Gary Shelton explores the Rays’ latest off-season of bargain shopping. [TampaBay.com]
- Joe Smith writes about the opportunities that Chris Gimenez and Will Rhymes have received with the Rays. [TampaBay.com]
- The Rays are 4th in this MLB.com experts+fans power ranking. [MLB.com]
- The Rays are second in Phil Rogers’ Power Rankings. [Chicago Tribune]
- The Rays have one of the best records in baseball, but they are only tied for eighth in run differential. This shows how good the bullpen has been as the Rays are winning the close games. [BI Sports]
- Deadspin has now countered their claim that Jonny Gomes is a douchebag. [Deadspin]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
DURHAM @ Syracuse. (postponed)
Chattanooga 5, MONTGOMERY 3. Jake Thompson allowed 5 runs in 5 innings, but did strike out 7 and walk just 2…LF Omar Luna went 2-3 with 2 walks. He is now hitting .294 and also added his 10th stolen base…SS Hak-Ju Lee was 1-4 with a walk and 2 strikeouts.
Clearwater 6, CHARLOTTE 5. Wilking Rodriguez struck out 6 and walked 2 in 4.2 innings. He allowed 5 runs…RF Mikie Mahtook went 2-4…LF Cody Rogers hit his first home run of the year, and C Mayo Acosta added his 3rd.
BOWLING GREEN 4, Lake County 0. Jake Floethe gave up just 1 hits and 3 walks in 6 scoreless innings. He struck out 3…Drew Vettleson went 1-4 with a double and 2 RBI. He also threw out a runner at home…Josh Sale went 2-3 with a double and his first stolen base.