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Fun With Numbers & The Tampa Bay Rays Offense; Zobrist & Bartlett Homer

This post is going to be a mish mash of a couple of topics.


I think everyone has been frustrated with the Rays offense through five games this season, what with the team not scoring enough with RISP and seemingly leaving 50 men on base every game.

Coming into today's game it seemed like the Rays couldn't score with RISP to save their lives.  They actually haven't hit poorly at all with RISP; putting up a slash line of .295/.360/.432/.792 in 44 at bats.  So why haven't they scored more runs?  My guess would be a combination of bad luck and good opposing outfield defense.  Take today's game for example, there were three instances where the Rays had men in scoring position and got a hit without plating a run; twice the runner was held up at third base due to Adam Jones and his powerful arm, and the bad luck coming in the form of Gabe Gross deciding it'd be fun to trip over the catcher's foot instead of touching the plate.  If the Rays can keep up a slash line close to what they're doing right now they'll be just fine the rest of the season.

While the team is hitting well with RISP as a whole, they've hit terribly with men on 2nd and 3rd and with the bases loaded.  In 10 PA's with men on 2nd and 3rd the Rays slash line thus far is .125/.300/.125/.425.  In 5 PA's with the bases loaded it's 0.00 across the board.  Compare that to when there's just a man on second base and the line is an almost laughable .500/.615/.800/1.415.  Obviously this is all based on a very small sample size, but it's interesting none the less.

Another thing I found interesting was how the Rays are hitting in high, medium, and low leverage situations. 

High: 22PA, .300/.318/.350/.668

Medium: 62PA, .231/.355/.519/.847

Low: 105PA, .258/.314/.474/.789

Obviously you expect to hit worse in high leverage situations than you do in medium, but you don't expect your medium leverage OPS to be nearly 60 points higher than your low leverage.  Again, these are small sample sizes and those numbers are probably not sustainable for a whole season, but they're fun to look at.

The bottom of the Rays lineup had a surprisingly productive day at the plate.  Ben Zobrist, Gabe Gross and Jason Bartlett combined to go 5/12 with 6R, 2HR, 4RBI and 2BB.  Many people wondered why Matt Joyce wasn't starting in centerfield considering a righty was starting and it was his last game before being optioned to Durham to make room for B.J. Upton.  Because Ben Zobrist is a super Christian and has super powers* on Easter, that's why.  Zorilla erupted with a three run homer, and even Jason Bartlett crushed one, matching his '08 total. 

*cannot confirm this

Bartlett is currently hitting .391 and Aki Iwamura is hitting .364 while drawing a lot of walks.  When Upton comes back those two are probably going to be batting 8th and 9th, if they can keep hitting well and keep getting on base in front of B.J. the Rays are going to score many many runs.

Evan Longoria is good. He has five home runs in the first six games. Other names who have accomplished feat: Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds amongst others.