- This is old news by this point, as the rumors were hinting at this a few days, but second-round pick Granden Goetzman signed with the Rays during last night's game. At the moment, he's the highest draft pick that the Rays selected that has signed. He expressed last night that he wanted to sign early so he could start playing early and report to the Rays' team in the Gulf Coast League (Rookie level).
The Rays have also signed 19 other draft picks -- many of them college players that were selected lower in the draft. Rays Prospects has the full list.
Yesterday, R.J. Anderson took another look at Wade Davis and found that he's facing a very high percentage of right-handed batters -- considerably more than any of the other Rays starters. He also struggles against right-handed hitters more than you'd expect, as he doesn't have a good out-pitch to use against them. The general rule is that pitches that break horizontally are good against same-handed batters (e.g. sliders), while pitches that move vertically are good against opposite handed-hitters (e.g. changeups). Davis' main out-pitch is his curveball, which breaks vertically, and he hasn't used his slider all that effectively yet this season.
Is it simply random coincidence that Davis is seeing more right-handed batters, or have opposing teams purposefully started stacking their lineups? This is one thing I'm definitely going to pay attention more going forward.
- News broke this weekend that MLB is considering realignment as a way to help restore competitive balance, and it could be something that happens as early as this year's CBA negotiations. The idea would be to move one NL team into the AL and then eliminate the division, making two leagues of 15 teams with the top 5 teams making the playoffs.
This would theoretically help the Rays, as it would promote a more balanced schedule and would mean the Rays wouldn't have to be fighting the Yankees and Red Sox for a playoff spot -- they'd simply be fighting to be one of the top five teams in the league. Dave Cameron gave his take on it a few days ago; overall, it sounds like a pretty good idea, but balancing the schedule would have some potential travel-related problems. Not to mention, it'd mean less money in the gate for the Rays, as the Yanks and Red Sox are huge draws whenever they come to town.
- If you're looking for a longer read, Bill Barnwell has a piece up over at Grantland about what "Moneyball" means these days. Essentially, he tries looking at under-appreciated areas that teams can exploit, like defense. There's an extended section in there on the Rays, since, ya know, it's how we roll.