Joe is back with his post-game thoughts…

Given the punchless Rays offense is in a desperate need of Viagra, Joe got to thinking: Is the Rays minor league development really that good?

Oh, sure, the Rays develop pitchers better than any team in the major leagues.  Everyone working for the Rays from Port Charlotte to Montgomery to Durham to St. Petersburg to the scouts beating the bushes deserve a standing ovation for that. But good grief, can the Rays minor league guys develop a stick for a change?

Joe really likes Desmond Jennings and believes he will be a stud. And who doesn’t worship Dirtbag? But geez, outside of those two hitters, name a guy in the past five years who the Rays drafted, groomed and advanced through their minor league system who is a decent hitter?

This is why the Rays offense is as impotent as Connie Chung after a rash of injuries has decimated the team. If not for the superior Rays pitching, this team would be in an ugly tailspin.

What exactly has happened to Ben Zobrist? When the Rays finally mounted an offensive attack late in the game — largely on a pair of walks, naturally — Zobrist only needed to get a walk or punch the ball into the outfield with the bases loaded to tie the game.

But Zorilla swings at the very first pitch and grounds into a rally-killing, inning-ending double play! It really looked like Zorilla was trying to hit a ground ball by reaching out for a pitch. My goodness, he had to know better than that, shouldn’t he?

Zorilla is hitting a Karlos Pena like .205. Despite his solid defense and his versatility, it’s awfully hard to keep a guy batting that bad in the daily lineup.

Unless your minor league staff can’t develop hitters.

 
 

19 Comments

  1. ALLEN says:

    I’m with you, Joe. Looks like the Rays are on track to set a major league single season strike out record: their hitters, not pitchers. Heck, there might be only three or four regulars who end the season above .230. Can you imagine what enjoyment there would be if this team could hit half as well as the White Sox? They’re about as punchless as the first-year Mets! These guys make medicore pitchers look like all-stars. Are they all swingin’ for the fences every time up? The Rays need to hire a few good men to figure out what is the problem and help these “they can’t hit” would-be major leaguers.

  2. Michael says:

    Zobrist hits home runs on first pitch fastballs

    I knew he’d swing on the first pitch, surprised he punched it at the ground

    too much hysteria here for my tastes

    not many teams field rosters of “home grown talent”. unless you’re a high first rounder, you tend to get moved as far as I’ve ever seen

    with Longoria and Jennings this is a fierce, fierce lineup, with seven people you’d go to war with and at least one good platoon hitter in Matsui

    when they were in, everyone was sporting 800 OPS’s, now they’ve slumped, go figure

    they just need to keep their head above water until July, and all should be fine.

    The AL East is fratricidal this year, I don’t think you’ll see New York take advantage and knock everyone out of the way like they can sometimes do

  3. Dave L says:

    Well for those of you who thought our big lefty bats would have made the difference (against Sale) the Rays braintrust followed your poor advice against lefty Matusz… maybe to prove a point?

    Pena and Scott 0-7 with 3 k’s of course and Matsui who actually is proven against lefties adds 4 more outs. Surprise Suprise surprise

    And whattayaknow? Our lone run comes from SRod scoring off the bat of lowly Sutton!

    I will have to call Duemig again on Monday to see how his advice worked out.

    Maddon please go back to your matchup lineups. Rest Pena and Scott against lefties until they start hitting righties. Only everyday players are Longo(out) and BJ. Zobrist for defense too and switch-hitting(i guess) only and pray his bat wakes up .

    • Dave L says:

      Your arguement is incoherent and your link was a fail in 2 browsers. Try to use words to express yourself and defend your positions.

  4. Andy says:

    Anemic. Pitiful. Lame. Pick 1, or all as adjectives for the current state of the offense vs. southpaws. We have to work the counts better b/c the only hope is to get to the bullpen when a lefty starts. Only other comment is that Zobrist may need to remain in the lineup for his defense & intangibles, but does he need to bat in such key positions as he has been? He needs to be relegated to the lower portion of the order until he improves!!

  5. don says:

    They have turned Zobrist into a weak hitting weasel…under the Shelddon/Maddon wait for your walks system….I remember (know you don’t) the 2008-2010 days when the freeswinging terror Zobrist arrived…but they got what they wanted the best “walk” man in baseball….
    Zobrist wanting the first fast ball he got hit his best imitation of power hitter Luke Scotts typical ground ball to rt.side..game over..
    Forget all the hype over errors the Orioles scored TWO RUNS..
    our first 4 hitters got one hit..as long as that situation stays the same expect the same results…

  6. Demetrios says:

    Injuries or not, anyone who has watched this team for any length of time should realize that there is a fundamental problem with how this orgainzation develops hitters. They don’t. As good as they are with pitching and defense, they lack with hitting. It should have nothing to do with payroll. They should take a hard look at their farm system, coaching and development. There is nothing there. Who in the system is tearing it up? Who has ever, other than Longoria?

    As great as this organization is, it is very frustrating that they can’t figure this out. We are not looking for .320 hitters here. I don’t think that it is much to ask for a typical, versatile Rays position player who can hit .280 with productive outs. This is a fundamental flaw in the system!

  7. Rob says:

    I think that was one of the more professional at bats I have ever seen BJ have. As far as Zobrist is concerned, he tried to take advantage of a guy who he knew was going to throw a fastball right over the plate. I don’t fault the thinking – he just missed it. You can go one of two ways here, work the count because he walked the last two batters or swing away because Zobrist is a good fastball hitter. Zobrist went with the latter and it didn’t work out.

  8. Dave L says:

    Its funny how half the arguements are about swinging at too many first pitches and the other half are about looking for too many walks. Looking for someone to blame for each loss?

    Its not the coaches or managers or individual player fault. Fact is any lineup we trot out from the 40 man roster against a crafty lefty is overmatched right now. the talent is sorely lacking to hit lefties.

    Thats why trying to get on base with walks against good southpaw starters has to be a component of our offense. Because we can’t hit them consistantly. Swing early swing late it really doesnt matter if you cant make solid contact.

    • Beth says:

      Dave L, you make a good point here, but you seem to contradict your earlier post. Earlier, you complain about leaving lefties like Scott and Pena in to face a left handed pitcher. But in this post you make the point that we don’t have many strong hitters waiting in the wings.

      So if Maddon were to bench Scott and Pena next time we face a lefthanded pitcher, who from the current roster would you want to see in their places? I can’t think of any right handed hitters who were sitting on the bench last night who I would have preferred to see in the lineup.

      • Rob says:

        Agreed we don’t have the bats to hit lefties, but Joyce does seem to be coming around and he presents a power threat. I think he was ailing yesterday a little, but I would like to see him in the lineup against more lefties.

      • Dave L says:

        Remember when Maddon played all the RH scrubs and sat our power lefties against Sale? At least Lobaton DH (for Pena) got on base.

        Everyone was up in arms! I even called Duemig to defend the move. Everyone else that day just agreed like lemmings that it was a huge mistake.

        Yesterday we play our power lefties against Matusz and guess what? They fail completely. Thats my point.

        Either way we are overmatched. But I say give the scrubs a shot especially if thier defense is not a drop off.

        Joyce is another case. I agree he has earned the right to start everyday along with BJ, Zobrist and Longo when he gets back. But unlike those 3, IMO I still think the manager should reserve the right to rest Joyce, Pena, Scott, DJ if they face select pitcher styles which they have proven not to be able to hit if others have shown they can.

        But I agree Joyce has earned the right to face most lefties. The telecast yesterday hinted or said he was hurting in some way not just resting as Rob noted.

        To answer your question. Yes bench Pena and Scott and play Godzilla and Sutton or possibly Lobaton if Tubby is catching. i honestly believe they give us better at bats against strong lefties.

  9. Cory says:

    Might want to throw out that archaic stat of average. His OBP is .342. He’s 2nd in the league in walks. Give me a fucking a break, using average as a measurement. What is this, the 70s? A walk is just as good as a single.

    • Rob says:

      Just ironic though that when a walk would have got the job done, he didn’t get one.

      I only agree that sometimes a walk is as good as a hit – to me it is situational. With nobody on base I agree a walk is 100% as good as a hit. With a man on second with less than two outs, a walk is obviously better than an out, but definitely not as good as a hit. Instead of 1st and 3rd or maybe even a run scored you now have 1st and 2nd with a force at every base.

      I think the Rays are doing the right thing working counts given their available talent. I just don’t think a blanket statement that a walk is as good as a hit is completely accurate.

  10. Don says:

    A walk is “as good as good hit” when in drives in more than two runs a year..until then your wrong..2nd in the league in walks gets you $400,000 a year and a cherished spot in Maddons heart..

  11. Chris says:

    To the original observation that the Rays don’t seem to do a good job developing hitters — Longoria, Upton, Young, Jaso, Jennings seem to be the only guys in recent memory.
    Chasing this idea around over at
    http://www.watchingdurhambullsbaseball.com/2012/06/bulls-win-gathright-remembered.html

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