Is The Rays' Offensive Upgrade This Offseason Having Desmond Jennings For A Full Season?

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The Rays scored 707 Runs this regular season which was good enough for 15th in MLB and 8th in AL. This works out to be 4.36 runs/game for the season. Prior to the promotion of Jennings the Rays were 52-46 and scored 407 runs (4.15/GM) and after his promotion the Rays were 39-25 while scoring 300 runs (4.69/GM). After his call up the offense picked up a little over 0.50 run a game and had the best record in the AL East. The Rays will never have the offense of the Yankees, Red Sox, or Rangers as they are current constructed. But, this can be made up through their elite defense and best pitching staff in the AL.

The following are the triple slash lines of the Rays roster from July 23, the day Jennings was promoted, until the end of the regular season:

Desmond Jennings .259/.356/.449 (247)
B.J. Upton .260/.360/.474 (215)
Evan Longoria .250/.377/.530 (232)
Ben Zobrist .276/.344/.474 (232)
Matt Joyce .261/.350/.415 (176)
Johnny Damon .231/.326/.412 (221)
Casey Kotchman .276/.358/.378 (225)
Sean Rodriguez .233/.359/.337 (163)
Kelly Shoppach .176/.247/.400 (85)

Reid Brignac .194/.206/.226 (62)
John Jaso .227/.292/.394 (66)
Brandon Guyer .200/.222/.314 (35)
Sam Fuld .213/.362/.298 (47)
Elliot Johnson .184/.225/.342 (38)

None of these numbers appear to not be able to be replicated by the group. In fact, some numbers look lower than one could project for next season. This roster would be on pace to score 760 runs over a 162 game season based upon their 4.69 runs a game they scored to finish the season. This is a smaller sample than a full season, but still 40% of a full season and would be a 50 run increase on the season. Damon, Kotchman, and Shoppach would have to be re-signed or replaced on this roster. The 760 runs would rank 6th in MLB and 5th in the AL.

The answers are there and it isn't all on the Jennings, but also the move of Zobrist to full-time 2B. This allows for only 2 weak bats at the bottom of the lineup instead of the routing 9 outs a game it seems the team would always give away at the bottom of the order. The bench is where the biggest improvements could probably be made with a minor move or 2.

This isn't to say the Rays shouldn't be looking to improve their offense this offseason, but the offense isn't as bad as it would appear and should only require minor tweaks to become a good offense. Keeping the elite run prevention and rotation this offseason would field a team that could be the best ever for the Rays and have their best chance to win the World Series. This leaves a little room to make some moves assuming a $55MM payroll and they could afford to keep their pitching and Upton around for a big run.

This post was written by a member of the DRaysBay community and does not necessarily express the views or opinions of DRaysBay staff.