2018 Tampa Bay Rays Depth Chart
The Rays organization has placed heavy emphasis on the build-up of young talents the past few years. The mindset of the organization might be seen as unorthodox to some, but this impressive talent collection is beginning to pay its dividends. Trading valuable pieces for unproven talent has helped their minor league system thrive. While the big-league team struggles within a tough division, this protentional rebuild will soon take the American league by storm.
|Catcher||Jesus Sucre||Adam Moore||Nik Ciuffo|
|1st Base||Jake Bauers||Ji-Man Choi|
|2nd Base||Joey Wendle||Brandon Lowe|
|Shortstop||Willy Adames||Andrew Velazquez|
|3rd Base||Matt Duffy|
|Left Field||Tommy Pham||Mallex Smith|
|Center Field||Kevin Kiermaier|
|Right Field||Carlos Gomez|
|Designated Hitter||C.J. Cron|
The team cashes its chips in with high draft picks and crucial trades for young arms. Blake Snell is the team’s Cy Young candidate, reaching near the top of the majors in win percentage. His sub-2.00 ERA also ranks near the top of all starters. Trading Chris Archer opened the door for Snell to emerge from the shadows. He now adopts the ace role for this squad and makes for interesting, rotational prospect in terms of tempting key free agents and trade partners. Tyler Glasnow was the key piece in the trade that sent Archer to the Pirates. Glasnow, who shares the same age of 25 with Snell, has developed at an impressive clip. The Pirates were patient with his development, which set the scene for Snell’s success in 2018. Fostering this same mindset into Glasnow will help the team claim a second, reliable starter for many years to come. Aside from these starters, the Rays have adopted a committee approach to wins. Their 87-69 record isn’t going to clinch a playoff spot, but this stance marks much improvement for a quiet organization.
Willy Adames got the big promotion he was hoping for earlier this season. The 22-year-old posted impressive statistics at the AAA level, securing his spot at shortstop for the organization. His strikeout ratio could use an efficiency increase, but he makes up for this will his bat speed, raw power, and quick legs. He is beginning to reach the ample level of focus needed to outlast a long at-bat, which bodes well for his future. The rest of the infield isn’t solidified, but it is very deep. The consistency comes from 3rd base and 2nd base with Matt Duffy and Joey Wendle. Both are batting near the .300-mark, which is well above the league average. Duffy continues to be a patient hitter that can produce and get on base. Wendle is younger and still improving on the intangible pieces needed to improve plate consistency. The starters are backed by players who have been featured as pieces to past successes for their teams. C.J. Cron and Ji-Man Choi are two of these serviceable mentions. Both players produce across lineup slotting, allowing the team to chart their matchups to an effective status.
One of the team’s biggest claims this season came with the addition of Tommy Pham. Pham is a large frame, giving him the throwing power to keep the opposition at bay. He also provides a high consistency at the plate, a development that was learned through a sound organization in St. Louis. Pham is added to the list of players that come from good backgrounds, limiting the amount of effort and focus needed to develop. Kevin Kiermaier and Carlos Gomez have seen better seasons, which is a small mark on the offensive production of this lineup. Obtaining Pham and utilizing the consistencies of Mallex Smith help add two, .300 hitters to the lineup when needed. Austin Meadows is another acquisition that is someone to keep an eye on. The Pirates tamed his development, fluctuating his appearances from pro to minor league level. His has a frame that is similar to Pham and carries the power to go with it. He will fit perfectly into this Rays system.
The lineup continues to undergo changes with playoff contention out of reach. The Rays are slowly affording their younger guys some spot starts and brief appearances. Keeping their players on the cusp of the major league roster keeps them wanting more and continuing to improve their short-comings. This team has built the mold needed to kindle the fire into the near future, a stance that should help this organization climb to the playoff-caliber ranks soon.