Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Preseason Preview: Devil Rays

Okay, the euphoria of the renewed baseball season has finally worn off and it's time to get back down to business before I head to practice. The Devil Rays. Hmm, not an overwhelming prospect, eh? They've never finished higher than fourth in their history, which is admittedly short when you consider that the D-Rays and D-backs only joined The Show in 1998. However, the D-backs, in the short time since their inception, have won a World Series and competed annually for a division crown. Arguably the most successful expansion team is the Marlins, but their companions in both Florida and fishhood haven't been able to duplicate their success. If there are any D-Ray fans, you get a cookie. I doubt that will make up for the pain, but you know.

Also, apparently, the D-Rays are trying to cut the "devil" part out of their name since it offends certain Bible-bashers. My God, some people. It's a sports team, not one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Yes, well. To compensate for this, I shall always refer to them as the D-Rays, even if it's more annoying to have to type out the D and hyphen. I must do my part against political correctness, and that involves even allowing that the D-Rays are a team.... How do the perpetual doormats of the East look this year? Glancing over their pitchers, I realize that I can't exactly tell starters from relievers, so advance apologies if I mess something up.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays


1. Scott Kazmir, LHP
2. Casey Fossum, LHP
3. Seth McClung, RHP
4. Jae Seo, RHP
5. Tim Corcoran, RHP

1. Dan Miceli, RHP
2. Ruddy Lugo, RHP
3. Scott Dohmann, RHP
4. Chad Orvella, RHP
5. Edwin Jackson, RHP
6. Jeff Niemann, RHP
7. James Shields, RHP

1B Greg Norton
2B Jorge Cantu
SS B.J. Upton
3B Ty Wigginton
RF Jonny Gomes
CF Rocco Baldelli
LF Carl Crawford
C Dioner Navarro
DH Delmon Young

The 500 Word Rundown
You don't exactly need to be a baseball expert to realize that the D-Rays are bad. Their team is filled with a bunch of no-names and low-level prospects, and when not even famous firebrand Lou Piniella can motivate a team to win, you know you have a problem. Talented young lefty Scott Kazmir may yet make a legit major-league pitcher – too bad that he's stuck on this team. His ERA was 3.24, but his win/loss total was skewed by the fact that he was, you know, playing for the Devil Rays. He had more strikeouts than innings pitched – 163 to 144.2 - which is a very impressive feat. However, not even he and Carl Crawford – Tampa Bay's only other player with a claim to stardom - are going to be able to save this edition of Florida marine life. The Marlins are also questionable, but not to the degree of these guys.

Crawford, as mentioned, is a very good, if not great player - .305 average, 18 HR, 77 RBI, with unreal speed - 58 bags swiped in 67 attempts. Get him on, and he's going to run, causing a thorn in the side of more than one catcher. Jonny Gomes hit 20 HR, but with a Yadier Molina-equal average – .216. Doesn't exactly bode well for things to come. The Rays are also hoping that young shortstop B.J. Upton can inject some excitement and sell some more tickets to boost dismal attendance numbers – the Trop (Tropicana Field) is regularly beneath 10,000 fans. They do, however, have a most entertaining heckler, who picks one guy from the opposing team and rides him mercilessly – and loudly, since there's nobody else really shouting in the stadium. But who really wants to see these guys play? As far as the expansion era goes, the D-Rays still have a lot to prove, and it's unlikely that they're going to finish higher than their customary fifth this year.

Projected Finish: 64-98, fifth place, AL East

That concludes it for the East previews. Moving in a Central direction, the Twins are up next.

1 comment:

Cardinal70 said...

I wouldn't totally agree with that rundown.

The TB offense is going to be pretty interesting to watch. Baldelli is a talent when healthy and I wouldn't be surprised if the outfield glut doesn't force a trade to improve what is definitely a woeful pitching staff.

We've got our AL East preview up at, if you want to take a gander at that.

Nice work, though!