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Tampa Bay Rays Offense Goes Boom Behind 'Los/Gross

And then, sometimes, Gabe Gross makes plays that focus the spotlight purely on himself. After being staked to a lead early, Scott Kazmir put himself into some trouble. Gabe Gross ended that trouble when he threw out Ryan Sweeney attempting to score from third on a rather routine flyball.  Gross then promptly came to the plate, and hit a ball out of the park, extending the lead after he helped to preserve it.  So far, Gross has been ridiculously efficient when swinging the bat inside of the zone. Guess how many misses...

Go ahead.

Okay, it's a trick question; he hasn't missed a pitch inside of the zone that he's taken a hack at. That's impressive. Gross' OBP is .382 and his SLG is .346 with a .154 ISO (only about .020 points off last year), consider that Gross is seeing 71% fastballs (92.1 MPH) over last year's 60% (91.1). Based what we know about the inverse relationship between ISO and FB% , that's not too bad.

Speaking of ISO. Carlos Pena. Don't look now, but his HR/FB% is 29.6, during his epic 2007 season his HR/FB% was 29.1. No guarantees that doesn't regress back to ~20%, but for now let's just enjoy the ride. Consider this. Pena has eight homeruns already in 75 plate appearances. Let's assume he gets about 610, and over the next 535 hits a career average 40% flyballs on those in which he does put into play. Using his current walk and strikeout rates, that would mean about 124 flyballs. With a 29.6% homerun rate, ‘Los would finish with 44 homeruns. 20%: 33 homeruns. Let's say he finishes somewhere in the middle, around 25%. Then Pena  gets extremely close to 40.

 Now, if you use the last three years of his flyball percentage, you get extremely close to 50%. That would mean at this current pace Carlos Pena could top 50 homeruns. Unlikely, but at least somewhat interesting to think about.