Rays 2019 Season Preview
Ready to check out our 2019 Tampa Bay Rays predictions? The Rays made a mad dash at the playoffs after a horrid start to 2018. They came up just short but with the bulk of the team returning and more help on its way, things are looking up in Tampa.
MLB Rays Predictions & Handicapping Insight
The top four teams in the American League (Boston, New York, Houston, Cleveland) are overwhelming favorites to make the playoffs.
That means, at least according to the oddsmakers, the Rays are competing for that final wild card spot, which would pit them in an elimination game with either Boston or New York. That’s life in the AL East.
2019 MLB Team Previews – Tampa Bay Rays
- Rays Win Total: 84.5
- Rays American League East Odds 10/1
- Rays American League Odds 15/1
- Rays World Series Odds 30/1
- Avisail Garcia
- Mike Zunino
- Charlie Morton
- Emilio Pagan
Tee Rays were busy this offseason and slashed their payroll from about $68 million down around $52 million. I don’t think they got worse, though. I believe they are actually better for it.
Avisail Garcia is 27 years old and has a chance to be a monster run producer now that he’s no longer playing home games at Coors Field.
Mike Zunino is a breakout candidate and should replace Wilson Ramos just fine. Charlie Morton has been tremendous for the last few seasons in Pittsburgh and Houston and if he’s anywhere near that level in Tampa, that’s an ace-like arm thrown into the mix. Emilio Pagan is going to throw 40, 50, 60 good innings out of the ‘pen.
- OF Mallex Smith
- C Wilson Ramos
- 1B Jake Bauers
Jake Bauers went to Cleveland for a couple of big-time prospects. With Garcia and Ji-Man Choi in the fold, Bauers was expendable, at least for this season. It’s still unknown whether Tampa will lock up either of those guys in the long-term.
2019 Tampa Bay Rays Predictions: Projected Lineup:
- CF Kevin Keirmaier
- LF Tommy Pham
- 3B Joey Wendle
- DH Avisail Garcia
- 1B Ji-Man Choi
- SS Willy Adames
- RF Austin Meadows
- C Mike Zunino
- 2B Brandon Lowe
The lineup is littered with breakout candidates, not including Choi, who really broke out with the Rays after coming over in a midseason trade.
Note that Matt Duffy is still expected to be the full-time third baseman, which would shift Wendle over to second. He’s got a hamstring injury that could force him out of Opening Day.
2019 Tampa Bay Rays Predictions: Projected Rotation:
- LH Blake Snell
- RH Charlie Morton
- LF Ryan Yarbrough
- RH Tyler Glasnow
- RH Yonny Chirinos
- RH Brent Honeywell
- RH Jacob Faria
Of course, the Rays aren’t going to deploy the traditional 5-man rotation. These are some of the long guys. Ryne Stanek and others will open, too.
Morton is a legitimate number two after the reigning Cy Young and newly-extended Snell.
2019 Tampa Bay Rays Predictions: Projected Closer:
- LH Jose Alvarado
Sergio Romo saved 25 games last season but he is gone. He wasn’t Tampa Bay’s best reliever, not even close.
Jose Alvarado finished 17 games last season and should be able to do the job. If he can’t, the Rays have an embarrassing number of arms to throw at the problem. I have a hard time believing the ninth inning will be a problem for Kevin Cash.
2019 Tampa Bay Rays Predictions:
I think this is the best team in the division. Of course, the trail can easily fall off the tracks with the Rays because there are so many young and, at least compared to Boston and New York, unproven players.
But the lineup looks dangerous with legit power in the middle and guys with hit tools all throughout. Garcia, Zunino, Choi, Wendle, Adames could all be All-Stars. Not all of them together, but any of the group. I’m that high on the lineup.
Kevin Keirmaier is healthy, too. If he can stay that way at the top of the lineup and in center, I believe Tampa Bay is certainly a playoff team and a World Series contender.
You get value any way you slice it with the 2019 Rays. I’m betting the board.
What do you think of our 2019 Tampa Bay Rays predictions? Comments are welcome below.
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