Tampa Bay’s pitchers were ridiculous last season, leading all of baseball in both team ERA (3.19) and WHIP (1.17), ranking third in total strikeouts (1383).
Basically, they rolled out an entire staff of Stephen Strasburgs (3.16 ERA, 1.15 WHIP). Hardly seems fair, but they did it.
In four of the past five seasons, the Rays have ranked either first or second in the American League in team ERA, so we’ve come to expect pitching dominance from this group. Not coincidentally, Tampa has also won 90 or more games in four of the last five years. This is a design-on-a-dime team that seems to shed high-priced players each season, yet always returns to the pennant race. It helps, obviously, that the farm system coughs up useful prospects each year.
Sure, Tampa’s regular starting lineup will include a few names that you’d pay to not own in fantasy — James Loney, Yunel Escobar, a lesser Molina. But the rotation appears to be loaded (despite the loss of James Shields) and the bullpen should be excellent again.
The Rays’ offseason wasn’t quite as splashy as Toronto’s, and they don’t have the spending advantages of Boston or New York, but this franchise will nonetheless contend in the East. The roster isn’t short on fantasy assets, so let’s get to the Q&A…
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