I can't get enough of these muttonchops. (Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)
Going into Spring Training, I promised myself that I would not make a big deal out of any spring training performances or stats -- although J.P. Howell's success is testing me -- but that I would be happy if the Rays merely exited March with a full, healthy roster.
With Opening Day a mere week and a half away, though, the Rays are still dealing with some injuries to key players. B.J. Upton has not recovered from his collision with Desmond Jennings as quickly as thought, and he's only played in one minor league game since then. Desmond Jennings wasn't sidelined by the collision for long, but he has a sore shoulder and hasn't thrown the ball in nearly a week. And Sam Fuld left Friday's game with wrist pain, and he's going to be evaluated by a hand expert today. And of course, this isn't even mentioning Reid Brignac's foot injury, which will surely keep him out beyond Opening Day.
We'll have to keep monitoring these injuries, but hopefully none of these injuries end up being a big deal. The Rays do have Brandon Guyer ready as outfield depth, if need be, but the list of available options after Guyer isn't particularly attractive.
On to the links....
It sounds like the Rays will finalize their rotation within the next day or two, with Jeff Niemann having the edge for the final roster spot. And if that's the case, Wade Davis has said, "I'll go down there and kick (butt), too. It don't matter to me."
Along these lines, Max Marchi recently did a study at BP about how pitchers typically fare when converting between the bullpen and the starting rotation. Davis is the inverse case, but it's certainly worth a look.
- No surprises here: Matt Bush has played his final game in the Rays organization.
- From Maury Brown: "Why the Forbes MLB Valuations Are Far From Perfect" Very timely, considering we were just debating this last week.
- The Rays Prospect podcast for the week is up, and you can find the episode either at their site or on iTunes.
- The FanGraphs Organization Rankings begin this week! Here's the methodology for this year's ranking; it's been tweaked somewhat to hopefully improve accuracy. And if you'd like to have your voice heard, they're compiling a Fans ranking list as well.