With four weeks to go before Spring Training games start most of the off-season transactions have been completed and we now have a good idea what most teams will look like on opening day.

As a result we have our first Power Ranking of the season via BI Sports and the Tampa Bay Rays come in at No. 10. You can see the rest of the rankings HERE.

2-6-2015 12-17-55 PM

As you guys know by now, I believe the Rays have, in essence, sacrificed the 2015 season for the betterment of the franchise moving forward. That doesn’t mean the Rays can’t be competitive. But it does mean that the Rays are not going to field the best team possible this season and if they are going to be playing meaningful games in September they are going to need some breaks and they won’t be able to afford any underperformances, such as the one given by Evan Longoria in 2014.

And that is where you start if you want to be optimistic about the Rays and the projection systems are optimistic. We all know the Rays’ pitching should be good. But what about Longoria and the rest of the offense?

PECOTA has the Rays scoring 69 more runs in 2015. Fangraphs has Longoria improving his OBP by 14 points (to .334), his slugging by 42 points (to .446) and his wOBA by .24 points (to .340). If that happens, the Rays have a good chance to be good.

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6 Comments

  1. Dave L says:

    When the Pecota rankings came out a little while ago, the talking heads over at MLB network most often took exception to the Rays optimistic projection. I would expect a similar reaction here. Almost nobody there even thinks we have a snowballs chance at anything. Also so far I have seen no Rays position players ranked in the top 14 'right now'

    Lukevics was interviewed on I think MLB Now (?) yesterday and discussed the state of the farm system and some guys in particular. May want to get that audio it was pretty good for Feb. For all the change at the top the farm system and teachers and evaluators are pretty much intact other than guys moving up in the chain of command. So for those that liked the old regime, the officers corp remains at least for this year.

    Souza was on WDAE today and said he's getting stronger up this offseason, I only caught part of it.

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    • Skateman says:

      MLB talking heads know about as much as the talking heads on CNBC do about the economy (not much). They all thought the Rays were among the favorites to win it all last year. I'd take this year's predictions with a similar grain of salt. The only guys we've lost going into 2015 that are going to hurt are Zobrist and Price. But we've got potential upgrades everywhere else, and now our farm system is twice as good. This is not a retooling year but a rebalancing year, just like practically every year when major players are traded for newer, cheaper ones. As the Royals showed, all you got to do is make the wildcard and you have a chance to win it all. Your best odds of winning the WS may just be to try to sneak into the playoffs each year and get hot. We don't have to dominate the division, just have a chance each October.

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  2. mep645 says:

    Another blah, blah .moment by MLB and others. Since when was Wil Myers "one of the team's best players"? What a joke. Wil Myers sat in the dugout with his cast on half of the season (from running into Jennings while in Jennings territory) while his replacement KK was hustling in the outfield and taking his place. Rays cut loose a non-achiever. Only Harold Reynolds pondered "why did both KC and the Rays cut him? What do they know that we don't know". Maybe the Rays should have sent the video of Wil falling asleep standing up in left field. Adios Wil. KK will never be sent back to the Durham Bulls again. He's a keeper.

    PECOTA has Ray and BoSox tired for 1st place in east. Chris Archer was on MLB Hot Stove for 15 minutes and had only great things to say about 2015 chances. So glad we have Chris for a long term contract.

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  3. FortMyersDave says:

    Rankings are fun to look at but lets face it; they do not really say a hell of a lot. Last year everyone had the Rays going to the Series and the injuries and the subsequent slow start derailed them. I am simply hoping that the team stays relatively happy, McGee gets back early (and if he can't Boxberger steps in as a natural ace), the starting rotation gets its fair share of quality starts (and strengthens when Matt Moore makes it back) and that the team actually finds some clutch hitting and improves on its performance in RISP where they lost so many low scoring games last season..... The AL East is up for grabs, any team can win 92 or they could lose 92 depending on their record in close games, the closers, the clutch bats, injuries, sheer luck and a call or 2 from the umps....

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  4. OTown Rays Fan says:

    thanks Dave L for the heads up on the Lukevics interview. here's the link to it: http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/7417714/v37210457/lukevics-talks-about-rays-prospects-new-additions/?query=Lukevics

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  5. Craig says:

    I hope Longoria has a great season but...

    You always hear about teams looking to add "protection" for their best power hitter(s). I don't know that the Rays subscribe to that point of view though. On paper, there's not a whole lot of incentive for opposing teams to give Longoria too much. He may get a lot of walks because if he gets hot they'll pitch around him. Maybe I'm wrong.

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