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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: Longoria's declining ball-in-play-numbers

Also, the Rays beat a college team.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This Date in Team History!

In 1998, the Rays play their first ever game in spring training as they defeated Florida State University, 6-3. Matt White got the start for Tampa Bay and Quinton McCracken recorded the first hit for the Rays. It could have been an embarrassing (if appropriate) start to the franchise as they trailed 3-1 in the eighth, but were able to rally for five runs.


Trivia Time!

Yesterday's trivia was Wade Davis, first answered correctly by DBullsfan.

Today's prospect:

"He emerged as a very versatile pitcher, serving as a starter, closer and long reliever. He works with a four-pitch repertoire, relying mostly on his plus fastball and plus slider in relief and mixing in his changeup and curveball more often when starting. His fastball averages 93-94 mph during longer outings, while he'll bump it to 95-96 out of the bullpen.

Hint: he was once ranked the 9th best prospect in his organization.


There are 37 days until Opening Day!

That's the same number of runs knocked in by Tim Beckham this past season.

One of those runs came from his massive first career home run.


Links! (Ian)

- Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times profiled lefty-reliever hopeful Dana Eveland.

- Apparently Kevin Cash is more relaxed this year. He may also be in the best shape of his life.

- Beyond the Box Score looked at different types of players who accumulated the same amount of WAR. Desmond Jennings is featured.

- Blengino on ball-in play data from third basemen. Brief quote: "Evan Longoria is no longer a stud."

Visualizations of baseball movies by critical acclaim and box office results. Sugar is my favorite of the lot. Also, "Yeah Yeah" from the sandlot cold called me once trying to sell me off-brand toner. His life has gone hard.

- This was fun August Fagerstrom noticed that Ichiro Suzuki was the fifth-fastest player to first base at age 41. That prompted an investigation of how fast was Ichiro to first when he wasn't old?