2008 Tampa Bay Devil Rays Baseball Preview

The Devil has left Tampa Bay, and now the AL East club that has been as low as any team can go looks to be headed up the ladder. The Rays were 66- 96, finishing fifth last season.

The Rays ERA was 5.53 and teams batted .290 against them (both 14th in AL)). Lefty Scott Kazmir (13- 9, 3.48 ERA, 239 SO) has a tough fastball, good slider and developing change up. Righty James Shields (12- 8, 3.85 ERA, 184 SO) offers a solid repertoire. From the Twins, Matt Garza (5- 7, 3.69 ERA, 67 SO) has fine pitch selection but can be wild. Fourth and fifth spots are certainly in the development stage. Changes in the bullpen include the addition of veteran Troy Percival, who made a comeback with the Cards last season. He’ll be the closer and upgrade a bullpen that had only 28 saves last season.

The outfield corps is massive—LF Carl Crawford (.315 AVG, 11 HR, 80 RBI) , CF B.J. Upton (.300 AVG, 24 HR, 82 RBI) and RF Rocco Baldelli (.204 AVG, 5 HR, 12 RBI). Baldelli, who played only 35 games last season, can be an impact player, while both Crawford and Upton were just that in 2007. The infield contributors include 1B Carlos Pena (.282 AVG, 46 HR, 121 RBI), who managed to simply crush the ball in 2007. He’s also a fine clubhouse guy. Third baseman Joel Guzman (.243 AVG, 0 HR, 4 RBI) is a work-in-progress, while second baseman Akinori Iwamura (.285 AVG, 7 HR, 34 RBI) has shown potential at the plate. Shortstop Jason Bartlett (.265 AVG, 5 HR, 43 RBI) is a line drive hitter with a quick bat.

The outfield is excellent and Pena at first and Bartlett at short are both fine fielders. Guzman, who lacks agility and quickness, is a worry at third. Akinori is a versatile fielder.

The Rays are a team on the upswing. The position players are overall solid and the pitching staff, although still young, looks promising. Executive VP Andrew Friedman made some good moves in the off-season.

Read more on the Devil Rays other AL East division opponents, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles.

For more info on the Devil Rays check out the MLB official page for Tampa Bay baseball.


2008 MLB Preview

As usual we cover and break down all 30 of the major league baseball clubs. To read about a particular team simply click on the link of the division of where the team resides. The division pages will also give a quick thumbnail on each team and are order of finish. At anytime you can return to the main baseball preview page.

08 MLB Team Previews

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