Rays 2020 Season Preview
Ready to check out our 2020 Tampa Bay Rays predictions? With the Red Sox making changes and the Yankees’ health concerns, could Tampa Bay top the AL East this season?
MLB Rays Predictions & Handicapping Insight
Tampa Bay won 96 games a year ago and finished second in the division before losing in five games to the Houston Astros in the American League Divisional Series.
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With young established pitching and even more talent yet proven coming through the pipeline, Tampa Bay feels like a team with as good as chance of any to capture the pennant in 2020.
2020 MLB Team Previews – Tampa Bay Rays
- Tampa Bay Rays 2020 American League East Odds: +400
- Tampa Bay Rays 2020 American League Odds: +900
- Tampa Bay Rays 2020 World Series Odds: +2000
- Hunter Renfroe
- Yoshitomo Tsutsugo
- Jose Martinez
Most of the Rays’ additions and losses concern the bats. Hunter Renfroe is younger with more team control than Tommy Pham, whom he was traded for this offseason. He has averaged more than 28 homers over the last three seasons in San Diego.
Tampa Bay will miss Pham’s hard-nosed play and on-base skills, though. He’s 32 now, though, and was beginning to show signs of wear and tear, especially given how hard he plays. Tampa Bay has a good track record of knowing when to cut a guy loose and I think the Rays more or less nailed this one.
Tsutsugo became loved in for Japan his prodigious power with Yokohama. Home runs don’t always translate from NBL to MLB but he’s right in his prime and the Rays were able to get him for two years and $12 million.
Jose Martinez can really hit and finally finds his way to the American League, where he can DH full-time. He and Tsutsugo could make a fine platoon pairing with either one capable of stepping into the outfield, if necessary.
- Avisail Garcia
- Tommy Pham
- Eric Sogard
Sogard was disappointing in 37 games for the Rays last season after coming over from Toronto in a midseason deal. He hit a lot of balls hard, though, and should be a solid acquisition for Milwaukee.
That’s where Avi Garcia is too after his finest big league season earned him a two-year contract worth over $22 million in free-agency.
2020 Tampa Bay Rays Predictions: Projected Lineup:
- Brandon Lowe 2B
- Austin Meadows OF
- Yandy Diaz 3B
- Ji-Man Choi 1B
- Hunter Renfroe OF
- Yoshitomo Tsutsugo/Jose Martinez DH
- Wily Adames SS
- Kevin Kiermaier OF
- Mike Zunino C
Lowe, Meadows and Diaz all missed time last season. The lineup isn’t particularly deep; nor does it have star power. Rather, it will be key the bats stay healthy and contribute day-to-day. If that happens, the lineup is more than good enough to win a division, even without some of the recognizable names.
Mike Zunino was dreadful in 2019 but the Rays wanted him back. He can’t be any worse than he was a year ago. Look for a little bounce-back there to get the Rays further than they went in 2019.
2020 Tampa Bay Rays Predictions: Projected Rotation:
- Charlie Morton
- Tyler Glasnow
- Blake Snell
- Yonny Chirinos
- Ryan Yarbrough
The rotation is superb, even if Snell, who is just a year removed from a Cy Young victory, isn’t the guy everyone thought he would be last season.
The continued development and health of Tyler Glasnow is key. He looked like a Cy Young candidate in 2019 before an arm injury derailed his season. He came back and threw in the home stretch and the playoffs and looked okay enough.
Trevor Richards has come in to add depth to the staff when the inevitable injury does strike.
2020 Tampa Bay Rays Predictions: Projected Closer:
- Nick Anderson
- Diego Castillo
- Jose Alvarado
The Rays have three listed closers. Alvarado was the guy last season but he was out of the lineup more often than he was in.
It gave opportunity to Castillo and Anderson, the latter of which threw excellent after arriving in a midseason deal with Miami. I would expect Kevin Cash to do whatever he likes on a given night but go with Anderson more often than the other two.
2020 Tampa Bay Rays Predictions: 92 wins and 2nd in the AL East (Bet Now at any of our reviewed MLB Sportsbooks!)
Not only do the Rays have the proven starting five, they have a collection of young arms including Jalen Beeks, Brendan McCay and Brent Honeywell who will either be with the team on opening day or later in the season.
Given all the injury question marks for New York and the decline of Boston in the post-Alex Cora era, Tampa Bay feels like a safe bet for value at +400 and a decent bet in the AL pennant futures, too.
What do you think of our 2020 Tampa Bay Rays predictions? Comments are welcome below.
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