The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

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    The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

      The title of this thread began after softy (aka mr hanky) stated that the Rays would fade away in the spring of 2010. He said the same thing last spring, summer, and fall. He tried to wiggle out of it (as always), by saying "going away" meant they would not win the WS, but we all know his methodology: make an absurd statement, deny making the statement, claim he said the exact opposite, then claim he was the leader in advocating the opposite position and changing his monniker when the evidence mounts. 

      I projected the Rays would win between 90-92 wins last year and that the wild card team would have fewer wins than normal in the AL due to so many good teams (especially in the AL East) all beating each other so often. The Rays won 91 games, but softy still claimed he was right, becuase TB didn't win, it was the Sox who lost.

      Some fans are again projecting a drop off this year, and although they now view the Rays as a formidable opponent, they feel their weak offense will keep them from seriously competing for a wild card or division winner slot in the post-season. I say, beware! The Rays should be better this year than 2011. Other teams inproved as well, and maybe they improved more than the Rays did, but I feel strongly that the Rays will be in the playoff race again this year until the final days of the season. (This is the common understanding of the term "not going away", and not softy's ever-changing book of baseball terminology: see the "no pop Jed" threads.)

      I have gone through the reasons for the Rays not going away several times in the past, so I won't bore you with many stats or numbers, but will say that most baseball experts recognize the great importance of pitching in improving odds of winning more ball games. It is here that the Rays coule be second to none, at least in terms of starting pitching. No team in MLB has a deeper starting pitcher bank. The second reason for placing the rays higher than most casual fans is that many of their key players are just now entering their prime or are still in the normal age frame considered "prime". Thirdly, the Rays have been stock-piling high draft picks and have continously been infusing prospects into their 25 man roster with great success, and I see no reason why this won't continue this year and beyond. (The Rays had a record amount of top picks in 2011).

       The specifics:
    The starting pitchers:
    Shields (30) Middle of prime and a true ace.
    Price (26) Just entering early prime and another ace profile already.
    Hellickson (25) Coming off a pretty incredible first full season.
    Niemann (29) In his prime and a solid starter.
    Moore (22 in June) Perhaps the best young starter in MLB.
    Davis (27 in Sept) Would be a #3 or 4 on most MLB teams.
    Alex Cobb (24) Looked good in limited duty in 2011.
      This has to be the best 7 starters on one team in MLB.
    The bullpen:
      The Rays pen has never looked great on paper at the start of each year, but they always seem to over-achieve. With Davis in the pen instead of Sonnanstine, I feel the pen will be better this year than last. They also have some young pitchers who have matured by a season and some seasoned vets.
    Farnsworth (36) Had a decent year in 2011.
    Peralta (36) Had a decent year in 2011.
    Rodney (35) Better than many know.
    Howell (29) Pretty good.
    McGee (26 in Aug) Up and coming.
    Badenhop (29) Hard to know.
    Lueke (27) Hard to know.
    Gomes (27) Good potential.
    Ramos (27) Good potential.
    Torres (24) Maybe a year or 2 away.
    Archer (23) Maybe a year or 2 away.
    Colome (23) Maybe 2 years away.
      Not great on paper, but pretty deep.
    Catchers:
      No Shoppach. Replaced with Jose Molina (37 in June)
    Lobaton (27) and Chirinos (27) perhaps a step down from jasko.
    1B:
    Carlos Pena (34 in May) poor BA, but a leader and producer.
    2B: Zobrist (31 in May) Solid player who at 2B allows Rodriguez to play      SS. If he is in the OF, 2B will be played by: Keppinger (32)/E. Johnson  (28): not bad for utility IF'ers.
    SS: Sean Rodriguez (27) Much better than Brignac/Johnson of 2011. 
    3B: Longoria (26) should improve on his injury effected 2011 season and  he is entering his prime now.
    LF: Jennings (25) A full season from this wonderkid should provide a big  boost.
    CF: Upton (27) Now in his prime and looking for a big contract.
    RF: Joyce (27) Has shown flashes of stardom as he enters prime.
    DH/RF: Scott (34 in June) Could help imrove on 2011's DH slot.
    OF: Fuld (30), Guyer (26), Vogt (27) Solid back-ups.

    Manager: Joe Maddon is perhaps the best manager in MLB.

    In short, TB will not be going away anytime soon even with a low payroll.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    I project 92-94 wins and a strong chance at a wild card berth.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    I don't think very many baseball followers will disagree.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    once I heard Tony Pena was back, I knew the rays were going to give the sox problems again.

    The Rays aren't going anywhere.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    What I find really amazing is that the average salary keeps climbing , while the amount of talent seems to be declining.

    Remember back before the AL over-expanded( 1968-72), the old Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles and how DEEP those teams were? Remember the lineup the Twins used to send out with Killebrew, Oliva, Carew, Allison ?

    Expansion and Free Agency has slowly , over the last 30+ years , eroded the sport so that even a mediocre team ( talent-wise ) could compete if they retain 3 or more consistent starting pitchers.

    It's not that Tampa Bay is that good of a ballclub, but somebody over there understands the importance of having good, strong, young starting pitchers who log innings and keep the pressure off the bullpen and allow the batters to believe they do not have to score 7-8 runs to win a game.

    The key to Tampa's success has been James Shields. The guy is a horse. He is the one guy they can't afford to part with.

    Red Sox need a horse ( or two). Remember Schilling and Pedro in 2004? Remember Schilling and Beckett in 2007? We don't have starting pitchers who consistently give you 7-8 good innings every time out. Lester is capable, Beckett and Buchholz have to give the team more quality innings, not just pitch their 6 innings and bow out.

    The worst stat that MLB has ever invented is the 'quality start.' You pitch 6 innings and keep the score down, it's considered "quality." I consider it "okay", "quality' is when you go 8 innings and allow fewer than 3 runs...especially when you are getting paid millions of dollars. Jim Kaat, Jim Palmer,Sam McDowell, Luis Tiant , Curt Schilling and Pedro and all those guys wanted the ball , they didn't just want to pitch their 6 innings and go to the clubhouse for chicken, beer and videogames.

    Major league baseball needs more pitchers like James Shields. He makes Tampa Bay better all by himself. If he gets hurt , they will sink like a stone. He has the oldtime mentality of wanting to pitch the whole game.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    2B: Zobrist (31 in May) Solid player

    Mr Moon, I think you are under-rating Zobrist.  An argument can be made that he is the best 2nd baseman in the AL East.

    2009 -2011 FGhs WAR:

    Zobrist          19.2
    Cano             16.3
    Pedroia          16.2  (19.8 for 08, 09 , 11)

    I'd say 89 - 91 wins.  They are due for some pitching injuries.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII:
    What I find really amazing is that the average salary keeps climbing , while the amount of talent seems to be declining. Remember back before the AL over-expanded( 1968-72), the old Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles and how DEEP those teams were? Remember the lineup the Twins used to send out with Killebrew, Oliva, Carew, Allison ? Expansion and Free Agency has slowly , over the last 30+ years , eroded the sport so that even a mediocre team ( talent-wise ) could compete if they retain 3 or more consistent starting pitchers. It's not that Tampa Bay is that good of a ballclub, but somebody over there understands the importance of having good, strong, young starting pitchers who log innings and keep the pressure off the bullpen and allow the batters to believe they do not have to score 7-8 runs to win a game. The key to Tampa's success has been James Shields. The guy is a horse. He is the one guy they can't afford to part with. Red Sox need a horse ( or two). Remember Schilling and Pedro in 2004? Remember Schilling and Beckett in 2007? We don't have starting pitchers who consistently give you 7-8 good innings every time out. Lester is capable, Beckett and Buchholz have to give the team more quality innings, not just pitch their 6 innings and bow out. The worst stat that MLB has ever invented is the 'quality start.' You pitch 6 innings and keep the score down, it's considered "quality." I consider it "okay", "quality' is when you go 8 innings and allow fewer than 3 runs...especially when you are getting paid millions of dollars. Jim Kaat, Jim Palmer,Sam McDowell, Luis Tiant , Curt Schilling and Pedro and all those guys wanted the ball , they didn't just want to pitch their 6 innings and go to the clubhouse for chicken, ber and videogames. Major league baseball needs more pitchers like James Shields. He makes Tampa Bay better all by himself. If he gets hurt , they will sink like a stone.
    Posted by ZILLAGOD

    I can't say I disagree with anything here. I do think the quality start stat is useful, but you are right, it should be called Okay starts. Maybe 7 IP with 3 ER or less could be called "quality" and 8 IP with 3 or less "high quality".

     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    2011 wasn't about the Rays not going away, it was about the biggest season collapse in MLB history.

    2012 has the extra WC, so you really are going out on a big brave limb. You backed out, in true stooge fashion, of your millions market for Wastefield and Varitek for 2012. I expect the 2012 will be just like the 2011 Rays, not contenders, even if they back into the playoffs via major league all-time historical collapse.

    BTW, since you seem so infatuated with the Rays, you are truly dim witted not to see how inept InEsptein was. And putting Wastefield on the active roster is not how the empty seat market Rays overachieve.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII:
    What I find really amazing is that the average salary keeps climbing , while the amount of talent seems to be declining. Remember back before the AL over-expanded( 1968-72), the old Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles and how DEEP those teams were? Remember the lineup the Twins used to send out with Killebrew, Oliva, Carew, Allison ? Expansion and Free Agency has slowly , over the last 30+ years , eroded the sport so that even a mediocre team ( talent-wise ) could compete if they retain 3 or more consistent starting pitchers. It's not that Tampa Bay is that good of a ballclub, but somebody over there understands the importance of having good, strong, young starting pitchers who log innings and keep the pressure off the bullpen and allow the batters to believe they do not have to score 7-8 runs to win a game. The key to Tampa's success has been James Shields. The guy is a horse. He is the one guy they can't afford to part with. Red Sox need a horse ( or two). Remember Schilling and Pedro in 2004? Remember Schilling and Beckett in 2007? We don't have starting pitchers who consistently give you 7-8 good innings every time out. Lester is capable, Beckett and Buchholz have to give the team more quality innings, not just pitch their 6 innings and bow out. The worst stat that MLB has ever invented is the 'quality start.' You pitch 6 innings and keep the score down, it's considered "quality." I consider it "okay", "quality' is when you go 8 innings and allow fewer than 3 runs...especially when you are getting paid millions of dollars. Jim Kaat, Jim Palmer,Sam McDowell, Luis Tiant , Curt Schilling and Pedro and all those guys wanted the ball , they didn't just want to pitch their 6 innings and go to the clubhouse for chicken, beer and videogames. Major league baseball needs more pitchers like James Shields. He makes Tampa Bay better all by himself. If he gets hurt , they will sink like a stone. He has the oldtime mentality of wanting to pitch the whole game.
    Posted by ZILLAGOD


    A couple of things Z.

    I'm still not sure if I agree with the premise about deeper teams. If the top teams were deeper, there still was quite a lot of mediocrity. Every look at the offensive stats of the California Angels in the early to mid-'70s?

    You made a good point about expansion, but I'm not sure how free agency figures in eroding talent.

    And it's something of a myth about the durability of the oldtimers. Pitchers are on a pitch count and pitch fewer innings and are in five-man rotations instead of four-man rotations because pitchers flamed out at an alarming rate.

    You mention Sam McDowell, for example. He pitched more than 214 innings in five seasons, and that 214-pitch season was just his only other 200-IP season. He pitched 285 innings at age 26 and followed up with 305 at age 27.

    It's easy to say, wow, he was a workhorse. At age 28 he pitched 214 innings, went 13-17 with a 3.40 ERA and basically was washed up. He lasted in the bigs until he was 32, never pitched more than 200 innings after age 28 and pitched more than 100 innings just two seasons.

    Even Schilling had his fair share of arm issues. He pitched more than 200 innings just nine times in his 20-year career, including 250-plus four times.

    Tiant had to re-invent himself after his arm issues with Cleveland, but not every guy can do that.

    Pedro was great but look at his career -- just seven 200-plus innings in 18 years and only twice did he go over 217 innings in a season -- back-to-back years with Montreal-Boston of 241 and 233. He had 13 complete games with Montreal in 1997 then 15 CG over the next three seasons.

    After age 26 when he pitched 233 inning, between age 27 and 33 (his first year ith the Mets), he averaged just 195 innings pitched.

    You call that a workhorse.

    Really look at the careers of pitchers. Yes, there are exceptions, but there are a lot of pitchers whose career was toast by 30 or even before. When pitching is hard to come by and you're paying $10 million to $20 million plus for top starters, I think it makes sense to try to protect that asset. 

    And Z -- I remember Schilling and Beckett in 2007.

    Beckett 200 IP
    Schilling, 151 IP

    I remember Schilling and Pedro in 2004

    Schilling 226.2 IP
    Pedro 214 IP

    2011
    Beckett 193
    Lester 191.2

    Neither Beckett or Lester went over 200 innings -- and they should so I'm not arguing that point -- but they still combined for more innigns than Beckett and Schilling did in 2007.

    2004 was nice and that's what Beckett and Lester and Buch for that matter should be able to do. But it's not like Schill and Pedro were pitching 250-plus innings.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII:
    2B: Zobrist (31 in May) Solid player Mr Moon, I think you are under-rating Zobrist.  An argument can be made that he is the best 2nd baseman in the AL East. 2009 -2011 FGhs WAR: Zobrist          19.2 Cano             16.3 Pedroia          16.2  (19.8 for 08, 09 , 11) I'd say 89 - 91 wins.  They are due for some pitching injuries.
    Posted by tom-uk

    An argument could be made, but it would be wrong.
    He's the 3rd best in the AL East and a solid player. 
    The Rays get a big plus by moving him to 2B.
    It improves them at 3 positions... 2B, SS, and Jennings in LF.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from jesseyeric. Show jesseyeric's posts

    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    They are looking good but with a slight help of Girardi's silliness.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    Yankees will not have any problem contending. The Rays will not be contenders, even if they benefit from a playoff spot gift due to greatest season collapse in MLB history.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII:
    They are looking good but with a slight help of Girardi's silliness.
    Posted by jesseyeric

    It's a long season. This thread isn't about 2 games.

     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII:
    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII : An argument could be made, but it would be wrong. He's the 3rd best in the AL East and a solid player.  The Rays get a big plus by moving him to 2B. It improves them at 3 positions... 2B, SS, and Jennings in LF.
    Posted by moonslav59


    I disagree, defense pushes BZ to edge RC IMO at 2nd.  If you factor in his ability to play multiple postions at a high level I'd contend he is clearly the most valuable of the three as a total package.

            RC    BZ   (BBRef  WAR)       RC     BZ    (FGhs   WAR):
     
    09    4.9   7.0                        4.2     8.7
    10    6.3   3.1                        6.5     3.9
    11    4.6   5.1                        5.6     6.6
          15.8  15.2                     16.3    19.2
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110929122932.htm

    "...but will say that most baseball experts recognize the great importance of pitching in improving odds of winning more ball games."

     Too bad you didn't post facts, just opinions. No one really knows how the Rays will do this year, pitching is famously delicate for all teams, last year wunderkind is this year's bum when it comes to pitching. the Rays sub-prime AL offense depends on timely hitting, another facet that can't be predicted. Their 707 runs last year was their lowest in the last 5 years. Bill James observes that 800 runs is the threshold of contention, and that run differential (Where pitching and defense come in) is a corollary.
     The OP seems to be an ongoing screed against Softy, of which I have to believe you're better than that.
     The Rays relevancy in the AL will be borne out in the games played, and both you and Softy have as much likelihood of being right at this point in time.
     
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII:
    Ben Zorbis I believe led the league in extra base hits last year, and he can field 4 different positions. He is an excellent asset to any team. Imagine if he were our RF.
    Posted by BurritoT


    True my MexicanFood Friend,

    If Ben was on the 2011 Red Sox instead of Dustin, what could have been?

    Sox RF OPS 2011  .652,    Ben Z. .822  UZR/150 Career RF 24.1

    Put Lowrie vs LHP at second and Reddick in RF vs RHP. Drew sits.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII:
    What I find really amazing is that the average salary keeps climbing , while the amount of talent seems to be declining. Remember back before the AL over-expanded( 1968-72), the old Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles and how DEEP those teams were? Remember the lineup the Twins used to send out with Killebrew, Oliva, Carew, Allison ? Expansion and Free Agency has slowly , over the last 30+ years , eroded the sport so that even a mediocre team ( talent-wise ) could compete if they retain 3 or more consistent starting pitchers. It's not that Tampa Bay is that good of a ballclub, but somebody over there understands the importance of having good, strong, young starting pitchers who log innings and keep the pressure off the bullpen and allow the batters to believe they do not have to score 7-8 runs to win a game. The key to Tampa's success has been James Shields. The guy is a horse. He is the one guy they can't afford to part with. Red Sox need a horse ( or two). Remember Schilling and Pedro in 2004? Remember Schilling and Beckett in 2007? We don't have starting pitchers who consistently give you 7-8 good innings every time out. Lester is capable, Beckett and Buchholz have to give the team more quality innings, not just pitch their 6 innings and bow out. The worst stat that MLB has ever invented is the 'quality start.' You pitch 6 innings and keep the score down, it's considered "quality." I consider it "okay", "quality' is when you go 8 innings and allow fewer than 3 runs...especially when you are getting paid millions of dollars. Jim Kaat, Jim Palmer,Sam McDowell, Luis Tiant , Curt Schilling and Pedro and all those guys wanted the ball , they didn't just want to pitch their 6 innings and go to the clubhouse for chicken, beer and videogames. Major league baseball needs more pitchers like James Shields. He makes Tampa Bay better all by himself. If he gets hurt , they will sink like a stone. He has the oldtime mentality of wanting to pitch the whole game.
    Posted by ZILLAGOD


     Back in the day, teams recognized that all those innings blew out arms like crazy, and they became wary of high innings, and high pitch counts, a fifth starter was added so it's just harder these days to win 20 games and crazy to strive for complete games. Nolan Ryan's experiment in Texas will prove to be a big mistake, the arm just won't hold out long term, as Billy Martin found out in Oakland. Expansion only dillutes talent if the pool of talent remains static...but an ever increasing population and the ability to recruit world wide suggests that talent is better than ever! Don't forget, your glory days remembrance skipped over the Senators, Royals and Mets.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII:
    2011 wasn't about the Rays not going away, it was about the biggest season collapse in MLB history. 2012 has the extra WC, so you really are going out on a big brave limb. You backed out, in true stooge fashion, of your millions market for Wastefield and Varitek for 2012. I expect the 2012 will be just like the 2011 Rays, not contenders, even if they back into the playoffs via major league all-time historical collapse. BTW, since you seem so infatuated with the Rays, you are truly dim witted not to see how inept InEsptein was. And putting Wastefield on the active roster is not how the empty seat market Rays overachieve.
    Posted by hankwilliamsjr

      Good job Softy, the collapse is still the lead story in the AL East, same story in the NL, Cards snuck in over the Braves, the Rays won their way in on the final day, while the Yanks were mailing it in, meanwhile Baltimore was playing their hearts out, IF Crawdaddy could've made a ML catch, not a GREAT one, just a ML one, perhaps Wake could've finally proven his value.
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII:
    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII :  Back in the day, teams recognized that all those innings blew out arms like crazy, and they became wary of high innings, and high pitch counts, a fifth starter was added so it's just harder these days to win 20 games and crazy to strive for complete games. Nolan Ryan's experiment in Texas will prove to be a big mistake, the arm just won't hold out long term, as Billy Martin found out in Oakland. Expansion only dillutes talent if the pool of talent remains static...but an ever increasing population and the ability to recruit world wide suggests that talent is better than ever! Don't forget, your glory days remembrance skipped over the Senators, Royals and Mets.
    Posted by YOUKILLUS20


    Youk, I'm still waiting to see this so-called Nolan Ryan Experiment. Every time I've checked Rangers' stats for their pitchers, the IP and pitch counts for starters seem to be in line with what everyone else is doing.





     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    Day three and ol' Hank is whining already about the Epic Collapse. 
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII:
    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII : Youk, I'm still waiting to see this so-called Nolan Ryan Experiment. Every time I've checked Rangers' stats for their pitchers, the IP and pitch counts for starters seem to be in line with what everyone else is doing.
    Posted by royf19


     OK, Roy, here it is....(From the NY Times) Ryan said. “I felt like we had a lot of pitchers that have been on pitch limits ever since Little League, and we don’t know what their genetic potential is as far as the number of pitches and workload they can handle.”  and..."Pitchers, Ryan said, would be expected to last deeper in games."
    It's well understood that Ryan expects more innings from his starters, in addition, the five starters from last year had their highest career IP totals, with the exception of Colby Lewis, who fell just 2/3rd's of an inning from his career high. So, no, I don't think every other team is having every guy break their personal IP best.
     
     
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    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII:
    In Response to Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII : I disagree, defense pushes BZ to edge RC IMO at 2nd.  If you factor in his ability to play multiple postions at a high level I'd contend he is clearly the most valuable of the three as a total package.         RC    BZ    (BBRef  WAR)        RC     BZ    (FGhs   WAR):   09    4.9   7.0                        4.2     8.7 10    6.3   3.1                        6.5     3.9 11    4.6   5.1                        5.6     6.6       15.8  15.2                     16.3    19.2
    Posted by tom-uk

    1) You are switching the argument from best AL East 2nd baseman to best all around position player.
    2) 2009 was clearly an outlier season for Ben. He went from .948 to .699 in OPS, and is probably going to remain close to his 2011 OPS of .822. (He is a career .782 batter.)
    3) His WAR value was greatly influenced by his fielding:
    Zobrist  44.1
    R Cano  -6.4
    Pedey   31.1
    4) Pedey's WAR was effected by missing part of 2010.
    5) Zobrist played 2B more than other positions only in 2011.
    6) Go one year before or after and...
    WAR from 2010-2011:
    Cano  12.1
    Pedey 11.2
    Kinsler 11.1
    Zobrist 10.5
    WAR from 2008-2011:
    Utley  25.9
    Pedey 23.0
    Kinsler  20.8
    Zobrist  20.7
    Phillips  16.7
    R Cano  16.6

    It's not "clear", even if you use your narrow cherry-picked timeframe.

    Career RF/9:
    R Cano  5.05
    Pedey  4.70
    Zobrist 4.57

    Looking at UZR...

    Top UZR players in MLB from 2008-2011:
    1) Longoria
    2) Crawford
    3) Beltre
    4) Utley
    5) Pedey (7th in UZR/150)

    2007-2011:
    Pedey was 9th in UZR and UZR/150

    2Bmen from 2010-2011:
    1) Pedey  16.0  (2059 innings)
    2) Utley    13.5
    3) Kinsler  11.2
    4) Phillips  11.0
    5) Zobrist  10.4 (1429 innings) 

    OPS:
    Zobrist: .948> .699>.822 ('09-'11: 820/ '10-'11: .763)
    Pedey: .819> .860> .861 ('09-'11: .844/ '10-'11: .861)
    RCano: .914> .882> .844 ('09-'11: .889/ '10-'11: .899)

    Sorry, I disagree. I'll take Pedey or Cano over Zobrist as my starting 2Bman. I also think they both are so much better that it outweighs the "total package" part of the equation. 
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from redsoxdirtdog. Show redsoxdirtdog's posts

    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    SNORE!!!!!   Get some new material!

    Are you going to spend another season perseverating over what the idiot Softy said?

    BORING!
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: The Tampa Bay Rays Are Not Going Away: Part VII

    "...but will say that most baseball experts recognize the great importance of pitching in improving odds of winning more ball games."

     Too bad you didn't post facts, just opinions. No one really knows how the Rays will do this year, pitching is famously delicate for all teams, last year wunderkind is this year's bum when it comes to pitching. the Rays sub-prime AL offense depends on timely hitting, another facet that can't be predicted. Their 707 runs last year was their lowest in the last 5 years. Bill James observes that 800 runs is the threshold of contention, and that run differential (Where pitching and defense come in) is a corollary. 

    Most teams declined in offense last year. 

    You are right about the unpredictability of timely hitting, and that's one reason why I called my 92-94 total a "projection" not a fact.

    Here are some 2011 OPS facts:

                    OPS  OPS late & close 
    Boston:  .810   .750
    NYY:       .788   .644
    TBR:        .724   .687

    The Sox had better timely hitting than TB last year, but that wasn't enough. It was clearly our pitching (or lack of pitching) that put TB in the playoffs instead of us.

    Yes, run differential is the strongest corrollary to winning, but when the corollaries are close, the team with the better pitching/defense usually wins, because they keep more games close enough to win.

    TBR:
    2011   +93  (91-71)
    2010 +153 (96-66)
    2009  +149 (84-78) The only year they missed the playoffs. 
    2008  +103 (97-65)

    BOS
    2011  +138 (90-72)
    2010  +74   (89-73)
    2009  +136 (95-67)
    2008  +149 (95-67)
    The Sox scored more runs in 2011 than any of the last 4 years, but missed the playoffs. The two years they missed the playoffs were the 2 years they let up the most runs (737 & 744). Even though they had a better run differential in 2011 than 2009, we lost 5 more games and missed the Playoffs.

    Is it any wonder that the year TB missed the playoffs they let up 754 runs. The other years, they let up 671, 649, 614. They actually scored more runs in 2009 than in 2007, 2008, or 2011, yet missed the playoffs. 


     The OP seems to be an ongoing screed against Softy, of which I have to believe you're better than that. 

    softy is not the only disbeliever. Yes, I chose the title as a jab at softy's ongoing position, but it was my position before softy disagreed with it way back when. This team has great pitching and they are mostly just entering prime. To me, that means this team is not a fluke, as softy and others believed they were 3 years ago. They are strong and getting stronger. They should not "go away" this year, unless they have injuries or untimely hitting. They should not "go away" in the broader sense of the word as well. Meaning they will be contenders for the playoffs and WS for at least 3-4 more years, even if they deal away Upton this deadline and Shields next winter to stay at a low salary number.  

     The Rays relevancy in the AL will be borne out in the games played, and both you and Softy have as much likelihood of being right at this point in time. 

    Believe what you wish, but the Rays had a strong and record deep draft last year. They have prospects that helped last year (Hellickson, Jennings, and Moore) who should get even better. Their best players are in their early prime.

    Yes, TB could win only 84 games this year, but I see nothing wrong with making projections based on their players, trends, and other factors. 

    As you noticed, softy has made no projection, but will be here in September pretending he did, or blaming the results on "a collapse" or whatever else he comes up with to explain away being wrong for the 235th straight time..
     
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