The Rays added three to the win column in the third week of baseball, thanks to some tough luck on defense by the Detroit Tigers. The Rays swept the series and therefore three game balls were awarded to MVPs for each win. Let’s take a look at who you voted for.
Rays beat Tigers 5-1! Who was the MVP?— DRaysBay (@draysbay) April 19, 2017
Going into the series with the Detroit Tigers, Rob Rogacki talked about how potent their lineup was capable of being in the series preview. I didn’t like Matt Andriese’s odds for a quality start. I was worried when he gave up a solo shot to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning, but he really had everything going other than that and ended up giving the pitching-depleted team 18 much needed outs. The vast majority of you voted that his performance was valued most in that win and I agree.
Rays beat Tiger 8-7! Who was the MVP?— DRaysBay (@draysbay) April 20, 2017
I am guilty of begging for an Austin Pruitt demotion after his second or third meltdown, but he looked like a completely different pitcher in this win. After multiple appearances of nothing but scorched line drives and lucky line outs, he finally settled in and showed us what earned him a major league job in the first place; ability to hit the edges of the zone and a wipe out slider. It looks like he’s going to make a living around the outside bottom corner to both lefties and righties with precision in any count. He wasn’t able to do that in first pitch counts before this game.
Erasmo Ramirez probably wins with that performance on most nights, but three extra base hits is hard to vote against. Steven Souza Jr. was just a single hit shy of the cycle on 4/20. He could have gone 0-5 with those same batted balls in a different park and against a better defending right fielder, but putting the ball in play against a bad defense is going to reward you more often than not. His reward was a monster stat line.
Andriese, Pruitt and Souza each get a game ball for their efforts and your votes over this past week. That brings our season tally to:
Steven Souza Jr. - 2
Matt Andriese - 1
Chris Archer - 1
Alex Cobb - 1
Alex Colome - 1
Logan Morrison - 1
Austin Pruitt - 1
Mallex Smith - 1
A leader has emerged from the pack. Steven Souza Jr. has been on fire to start the 2017 season and the voters have spoken. He’s hitting balls hard, walking more, striking out less, and getting a little lucky. Everyone gets lucky at some point. Everyone gets unlucky. If he keeps the walk rate up and the strike out rate down, the floor of his slump when it inevitably comes will be significantly higher than what is has been in the past. Souza may be transforming into a really, really good major league hitter right now, and it’s really, really exciting to watch.
Thanks again to everyone that voted. If you want to get involved, hop on twitter, follow @draysbay and look for polls after every Rays win.