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2012 Tampa Bay Rays

Discussion in 'Team News' started by PepperNY, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. PepperNY

    PepperNY Fear the Spear

    May 9, 2010

    The Tampa Bay Rays mounted a furious comeback in the final month of the 2011 season, and ended up in the playoffs for the third time in four seasons after a complete and utter collapse by the Boston Red Sox. The rally ended up being for naught, as the Rays lost in four games in the ALDS to the eventual league champion Texas Rangers. However, this is still a very explosive young team that will be a legitimate contender in 2012.

    Depth Chart

    C: Jose Molina
    1B: Carlos Pena
    2B: Ben Zobrist
    SS: Sean Rodriguez
    3B: Evan Longoria
    LF: Desmond Jennings
    CF: BJ Upton
    RF: Matt Joyce
    DH: Luke Scott
    SP: James Shields
    SP: David Price
    SP: Matt Moore
    SP: Jeremy Hellickson
    SP: Jeff Niemann
    CL: Kyle Farnsworth

    New Faces
    The Rays didn't have much turnover from 2011 to 2012, but there still is some there. Luke Scott, formerly of the Orioles, is the team's new DH after Johnny Damon was largely a disappointment in the role in 2011. Carlos Pena returns to Tampa Bay after a season in Chicago to take over first base from the departed Casey Kotchman. The team is also apparently ready to roll with defensive specialist Jose Molina behind the dish. The Rays also brought in a pair of new relievers: former Tigers and Angels setup man Fernando Rodney, and former Marlins reliever Burke Badenhop.

    Both of the team's catchers in 2011, John Jaso and Kelly Shoppach, are no longer with the team. Jaso was traded to Seattle, while Shoppach signed as a free agent with the Red Sox. As mentioned earlier, former first baseman Casey Kotchman left as a free agent, signing with the Indians. Johnny Damon remains unsigned, and won't be back in Tampa. A pair of relievers also left the team, as Juan Cruz signed with the Pirates and Andy Sonnanstine signed with the Cubs. Also, late season hero Dan Johnson was a minor league free agent that the White Sox snatched up.

    Impact Rookies
    You know how things roll in Tampa Bay: lots of young players all the time. Desmond Jennings lost his rookie eligibility last season, but will be the team's Opening Day starter in left field to start the season. Matt Moore, the top pitching prospect in all of baseball, will slot nicely into Tampa Bay's rotation after signing an extension this offseason with single digit innings in the majors. Other names to watch that could contribute in the majors for the Rays this year include outfielder Brandon Guyer and shortstop (and former top overall pick) Tim Beckham.

    Position Battles
    The Rays seem pretty set overall, but there could be a battle at shortstop between Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac. Brignac started off last year as the starter, but was so horrible offensively that the team needed to make a move.

    Injury Concerns
    The Rays are pretty healthy overall, but BJ Upton will start the season the 15 day DL

    Burning Question
    Can BJ Upton rebound to become the player he was in 2007 and 2008, or is he just a completely different player now?

    Best Case
    The Rays' young talent gels as well as it did in 2008, and the team finishes with the best record in the American League.

    Worst Case
    Tampa Bay's main young talent (Moore and Jennings) aren't ready for a full season in the big show, and the team falls to third place in the division and has to fight and claw for a playoff spot.

    Realistic Prediction
    The Rays are either the first or second best team in the AL East, and should be in contention for a playoff spot all year long, unless something catastrophic happens.
  2. PAgamer07

    PAgamer07 We're the ship without a storm

    Nov 11, 2009
    Im betting on you to win the East :)
  3. PepperNY

    PepperNY Fear the Spear

    May 9, 2010
    • After a 3-1 start the Rays were able to go into Boston and sweep the Redsox but have since lost their last 3 to run their record to 9-5 and tied for 1st in the AL East with the Yankee$
    • Ben Zobrist will miss the next 2-3 weeks with a strained hip flexor but the Rays did get good news as they were able to activate BJ Upton from the 15 day DL to the active roster
    • No surprise that Evan Longoria is leading the team with 5 HR's and 13 RBI's but a nice surprise has been OF/DH Luke Scott who has 5 HR's on the season including 3 in 1 game vs the hated Yankee$.
    • James Shields in off to a great start where in 3 starts he is 2-0 with a 1.14 ERA at the top of the Rays rotation and filling in for an injured Kyle Farnesworth the Rays have gotten a great start from Fernando Rodney who has 3 saves in 7 appearances with a 1.08 ERA
    • The Rays feel confident after sweeping both the Yankkes and Red Sox in the 1st 2 weeks of the season but have to find out a way to win these close games. Of their 5 losses 3 have been by 1 run.
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  4. PepperNY

    PepperNY Fear the Spear

    May 9, 2010
    The Tampa Bay Rays have finally hit their stride and it couldnt have come at a better time heading into September where the Rays now find themselves in 1st place 2.5 games ahead of the Yankees. The Rays have won 16 of their last 20 games to surge past the rest of the teams in the AL east but it wouldnt have been possible without a great month and resurgence of Evan Longoria. Longoria heard the critics asking where his bat was and after getting over some nagging injuries early this season it appears he is ready for the stretch run. Longoria was named AL player of the month for August where he hit .344 with 8 HR's 24 RBI's. The biggest surprise for the Rays has to be the return of 1B Carlos Pena who has been the heart and soul of the Rays in the middle of the Lineup with 40 HR's 90 RBI's and a modest .273 average. If the Rays are to win the AL East they will need both guys to continue producing run support for 1 of the best Pitching staffs in baseball. Can the Rays hold off the Yankees and Redsox? Time will tell.​
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