Tampa Bay Devil Rays:
2005- 67-95 (.414) 5th place, AL East
Manager: Joe Maddon (Why did you have to go, Lou?)
Strange Fact(s): 1. Zim is filling a position known as "senior baseball advisor". Huh.
2. They have Wiggy!
Key Addition(s): Sean Burroughs
Ace in the Hole: Delmon Young
X Factors: Can Kaz (the other one) be a dominant ace? Can Burroughs produce the way everyone always expected him to? Will Jesus become a reliable closer or will they have to follow the closer-by-committee idea as has been suggested? Carl Crawford.
Overlook: Well, well, well. Like they say, come April every team has a new slate. For all we know, the Diamondbacks could be an 110 win team and the Cardinals might be the new punching bag of the Central. Uh... not quite. The D-Rays might have a new mentality, a great one pitcher, and the best prospect in baseball, but they don't have enough to put it together as of yet. As much as everyone loves all their twenty-something players, they're still developing and they don't know what it's like to win yet. Regardless of how cool Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, Jonny (yea there's no h wanna fight about it) Gomes, and Jorge Cantu are, they still have no bullpen, not enough power, and are playing in the best division in baseball. In the NL West, they could win 85 possibly 90 games, but when you're constantly bumping heads with the likes of New York, Boston and Toronto, they simply can't compete. Give it a few years, and then I like 'em.
Catcher: Toby Hall- .287/.315/.368/5 HR/48 RBI in 135 games
Key Stat: 432 AB's, only 39 SO's. That's about 11 per. He's not wasting many at bats at the end of the order.
1st Baseman- Travis Lee- .272/.331/.426/12 HR/49 RBI in 129 games
Key Stat: Has never hit above .275 or had more than 90 RBI's in his career. The deifinition of slightly above average. He sucked as a Yankee.
2nd Baseman- Jorge Cantu- .286/.311/.497/28 HR/117 RBI in 150 games
Key Stat: With 117 RBI's, Cantu was 7th in the AL. Wow, I didn't see that one coming. Definitely gonna be a star. However, batting third he's ripe for hitting into too many DP's. Gotta work on better placement, finding holes. (He can get lessons from DJ perhaps?)
3rd Baseman- Sean Burroughs- .250/.318/.299/1 HR/17 RBI in 93 games w/ San Diego
Key Stat: As a 9th pick in the '98 draft, Burroughs has hit only 11 HR and driven in only 133 RBI in 4 years of play. (432 games) Also, injury prone. Only 93 games last year and was never effective. Hits fairly well for average, but no power. No wonder they stuck him in dead man's land- the 8 hole. Can he rebound?
Shortstop- Julio Lugo- .295/.362/.403/6 HR/57 RBI in 158 games
Key Stat: Good leadoff man. With that .362 OBP he's fairly reliable, and once he's on he's got a lot of speed. 39 stolen bases last year.
Left Field- Carl Crawford- .301/.331/.469/15 HR/81 RBI in 156 games
Key Stat: God who doesn't love Carl Crawford. He's on his way to becomig a 5-tool player. I mean he hit .300, 80 RBI's even from high in the order, good in left, fastest man in baseball not named Gathright/Suzuki, all-star in '04... oh right. The key stat. 22.6 power speed number last year. It's another crazy Bill James stat (what the hell is secondary average, anyway? whatever it is Bonds had a 1.086 secondary average in '04. How is that possible!?), but it means he's well-rounded okay.
Center Field- Rocco Baldelli- .280/.326/.436/16 HR/78 RBI in 136 games in '04
Key Stat: 30 BB in 637 AB's. I swear to God the guy never walks. He either hits it (184) or strikes out (128). His name is Rocco though, cut him some slack.
Right Field- Aubrey Huff- .261/.321/.428/22 HR/92 RBI in 154 games
Key Stat: In '03, he had a remarkable year. Since then, his BA, OBP, and SLG have all dropped steadily. In BA, the difference between '03 and '05 is 50 points, in on base, 25 points, and in slugging, 77 points. The guy is deteriorating.
DHing- Jonny Gomes- .282/.372/.534/21 HR/54 RBI in 101 games
Key Stat: a 3/1 K/BB ratio will not help. However, as he continues to play, he'll continue to learn, and with the experience will come patience. Most of the time. (reference Soriano) Also, questions abound? Does he have the tools to be effective batting 5th?
Bench: Well, OK I guess. They only go as deep as Gathright, Josh Paul (who I for some reason like even though he was a goddamn Angel), and Wiggy take them.
Key Stat: Joey Gathright is so good. Josh Paul as I've already explained has a soft spot in my heart. And Ty was a Met. (By the way how do Mets fans feel about him?) All this leads to the fact that their bench is pretty cool. But also pretty much can't produce. Paul is terrible and mostly is a defensive replacement, Wigginton just can't do jack for crap, and Gathright, although he has game-changing speed, has really no other baseball talent. Maybe their collective okness can mold together into one good player. I don't have a stat prepared. Deal.
Ace- Scott Kazmir- 10-9/3.77/172 hits, 174 SO, 100 BB in 186 innings
2nd- Mark Hendrickson- 11-8/5.90/227 hits, 89 SO, 49 BB in 178 innings
3rd- Casey Fossum- 8-12/4.92/170 hits, 128 SO, 60 BB in 163 innings
4th- Seth McClung- 7-11/6.59/106 hits, 92 SO, 62 BB, 109 innings
5th-Doug Waechter- 5-12/5.62/191 hits, 87 SO, 38 BB, 157 innigs
Closer- Jesus? (Colome, but if he's not available, the real Jesus)- 2-3/4.57/54 hits, 28 SO, 18 BB in 45 innings
Bullpen- Terrible in general. They've got Dave Miceli and Chad Harville. And they're pretty good compared to the rest of the staff. Enough said.
Maturity is what they need. I don't know what kinda damage this team'll be making 3, 4 years in the future, but as of now, they're going nowhere. Pitching is just all around a weakness, and their entire lineup is pretty much made of players who everyone knows can produce but who can't seem to get it all together. Also, I can't seem to find Victor Zambrano on their roster. He must of been left off the team. (ah that never gets old)
Prediction: 74-88 (talented enough to win 75 but no pitching = no .500) 4th, AL East