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Are the Rays the Real Deal?


Jagwar

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Alright...

Say, HYPOTHETICALLY that the Rays are for real. September comes and the Rays are in the thick of things. I'm assuming it'd be between them and the Sox and I'm sure the MFY's will have ironed things out and be in it, too.

Do you root for the Rays?

Are we assuming the O's are out of contention at that point? If so, then of course we root for the Rays over the Yanks or Sox. I don't see how there's even a choice there.

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That's the key point here. We've been hearing about this dynasty-in-the-making since when the superstar rookies were Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, and a big third-turned-first baseman named Aubrey Huff.

When they play well for a full season, then I'll believe they're real. As of now, I'll withhold judgement, except to say that they look like a really good team for the long term, and it will be nice to battle them for first place in the upcoming years.

2006.

The Devil Rays had just gone 39-34 in the second-half of 2005. Everyone was gushing over Kazmir and Crawford and Jonny Gomes and Jorge Cantu. B.J. Upton was dominating AAA, Delmon Young had just arrived there, and Elijah Dukes, James Shields and Jason Hammal were doing well in AA.

People were saying, "Once they get Rocco Baldelli back and some of the pitching up here, they will be a potential dynasty."

The promptly went 61-101. Gomes and Cantu had poor years. Upton, Shields and Hammal struggled when they came up.

I'm sorry if I'm being too skeptical for your taste.

Besides, I did say they look like they could be good for a long time. I'm just waiting to see how they go for the moment.

BTerp has a valid point. The (D)Rays have been wearing the up-and-coming tag for years now. What has looked great on paper for quite awhile has yet to translate to the ballfield.

FWIW, the Reds have been a perennial fashionable sleeper pick in our division for years too. IIRC they finished second one year. Outside of that it's been same-ol, same-ol.

The difference is that although the Rays have had prospects for several years, it takes time for them to mature. And as some of those prospects mature (while others wash out) at the major league level and other prospects work their way through the system, the nucleus gets bigger and better. And then it becomes easier to supplement with a decent supporting cast.

For example, on the pitching side of things, they really only had Kazmir as an established pitcher at the mlb level a couple of years ago. Many teams have one very good starting pitcher. Now they have Kazmir and Shields at the front of the rotation. Not many teams have two really good starting pitchers. In the next year or two, maybe Garza or Price or someone else will have established themselves.

I don't think they have quite enough to take the division this year, but that doesn't mean that they aren't slowly gaining steam. And teams that are getting better don't necessarily show steady improvement in the standings from year to year. Sometimes they stagnate or take a step backwards before making significant progress.

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Are we assuming the O's are out of contention at that point? If so, then of course we root for the Rays over the Yanks or Sox. I don't see how there's even a choice there.

I agree, though in a couple years we may be booing them the same as the Sox minus the invasion of the Yard.

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Without reading all 3 pages... I'd say real deal as in 1st place in the AL East... today? Nah!

Real deal as in a franchise finally getting a clue? No Doubt! I forget the name of their old owner... a real power ego. Squandered/collected #1 picks for years. And no plan to go along with that. But the new group seems to be reaping the benefits of all those last place finishes, and building on all that. They have some amazing talent. Glad PA finally saw the light (MacP) when he did! :thumbsup1:

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One look at the numbers, from baseball analysts, which comes to this conclusion...

It's hard to imagine but it looks to my eyes at least that both Oakland and Tampa are entirely legitimate. They will both have tough fights on their hands in order to qualify for post-season play in the highly competitive American League but they have started the season on the right foot and both sure seem to feature the make-up of clubs capable of fighting through to the end.

http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2008/05/as_rays_here_to.php

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Rosenthal chimes in on the flavor of the week...

Rays

Yes, they're in the right place at the right time — the Rays' 16-6 surge coincides with the Yankees caught in transition and the Blue Jays facing their usual wave of injuries. However, the Rays are far from a fluke. They've already swept the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Angels at home, and they rebounded from getting swept at Fenway with their current 7-1 run.

For years, rival players and executives have said that the Rays resemble a postseason club when Scott Kazmir is on the mound. Now the Rays are getting Kazmir-type pitching from other starters, their bullpen is much-improved and their defense is among the league's best. Their offense, meanwhile, is not yet clicking at peak efficiency; Carlos Pena, Carl Crawford, Akinori Iwamura, Jonny Gomes, Jason Bartlett and Evan Longoria all are performing below expected levels.

Kazmir and Cliff Floyd recently came off the disabled list, and the return of reliever Al Reyes later this week will give the Rays the team they envisioned at the start of spring training, minus outfielder Rocco Baldelli. The Rays looked like at least a .500 club when the season began. If things break right, it's not unreasonable to think they could jump into the 85- to 90-win range — and finish ahead of the Yankees.

Pretender or contender: Contender. Seriously.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8136560/Reality-may-set-in-for-certain-teams?CMP=OTC-K9B140813162&ATT=3498

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They have given up an average of 2.4 runs per game.

Have thrown 2 shutouts.

Gave up 1 run twice.

Gave up 2 runs twice (one of those games they lost 2-1).

They can't keep that up, can they?

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They have given up an average of 2.4 runs per game.

Have thrown 2 shutouts.

Gave up 1 run twice.

Gave up 2 runs twice (one of those games they lost 2-1).

They can't keep that up, can they?

Maybe not, but they aren't going to keep hitting as poorly as they are, either.

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Really disagree with BTerp about people gushing about the quality of the major league team in Tampa Bay two years ago.

The story has been about their minor league system and the abundance of talent and a good portion of that talent not named Upton and DYoung finally getting to and above AA last year.

The thing about TB is that they have a scary amount minor league talent to deal from if they decide to go for it this year. I'm not saying they should deal everyone, but they could pick up an all star caliber player or two quite easily with the minor league talent they have.

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BTerp would still be doubting the Rays are for real even when they are in the playoffs. And he would still say it's a toss up as to who is better, the Rays or O's, when the Rays are in the playoffs and the O's are sitting at home.

I like Bterp, and he's loyal to a fault, but you can pretty much dismiss anything he says when it comes to the Rays on principle that he won't admit that they are a better team.

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I still don't buy it yet. After 70-80 games if they are still competitive, maybe I'll start to believe. Either way, it'll be interesting to see how they do on their upcoming road trip vs. St. Louis and Oakland. Hopefully this high that they're on will end by then as we follow Oakland with a 3 game series in Tampa.

I was impressed by the Rays this weekend against St. Louis. The Cards were fortunate to win 2 out of 3, even though we missed their top two pitchers. I was very impressed with Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine, and the Rays outfield defense might be the best in the majors.

As good as the Rays pitching and defense was, it was breakdowns in those which allowed the Cards to win Saturday and Sunday (Stan Musial Day). Rays pitchers issued 5 walks on Saturday, which helped to allow the Cards to tie the game and win it with a walk off home run in the 10th.

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BTerp would still be doubting the Rays are for real even when they are in the playoffs. And he would still say it's a toss up as to who is better, the Rays or O's, when the Rays are in the playoffs and the O's are sitting at home.

I like Bterp, and he's loyal to a fault, but you can pretty much dismiss anything he says when it comes to the Rays on principle that he won't admit that they are a better team.

Do you think the Orioles are a playoff contender? Or, do you think that based on past history other factors that we should wait on making a declaration like that? Like, when they are in the playoffs.

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