The following are your 2017 Tampa Bay Rays on the 25-man roster for Opening Day, listed by jersey number, with a statistic of note for each.
This list includes players on the 10-Day Disabled List, denoted with an asterisk (*), and the 60-Day Disabled List, denoted with a plus (+).
0 - Smith, Mallex - OF
First Rays player to wear 0 in franchise history, stole 20 of 29 bases in 2016. His speed is undeniable and should be a huge help in 2017.
1 - Beckham, Tim - INF
The starting shortstop, filling in for the injured Matt Duffy, posted a 141 wRC+ in 98 games during the second half last season. The Rays plan to feature him often against southpaws this year.
3 - Longoria, Evan - 3B
Posted a career high 36 home runs in 2016, including a .248 ISO, his second highest such mark since his Rookie of the Year 2008 season, and he’s well on his way to proving he can do it again in 2017.
4 - Snell, Blake - LHP
The lone southpaw in the Rays rotation increased his strikeout rate from 18.8% in the first half to 27.6% in the second half of 2016. His biggest weakness is his unnecessarily high walk rate (25.1% in low leverage situations).
5 - Duffy, Matt* - INF
This World Series winning infielder was acquired by the Rays in the Matt Moore trade to shore up shortstop. An off-season achilles surgery will delay his season. He tallied 23 DRS in 204 games at third base in his career with the Giants.
7 - Morrison, Logan - 1B
Morrison started 2016 ice cold, but returns to the Rays after posting a 139 wRC+ in the second half. At least on Opening Day, he hadn’t missed a beat.
LoMo doubled his ISO from .145 to .282 in the second half by switching to a pull-heavy approach (47.4% to 60.0% pull rate), primarily facing right handed pitching.
8 - Weeks Jr., Rickie - INF
The Rays new answer at first base against left handed pitching, Weeks posted a 159 wRC+ against southpaws in 2016 as he transitioned to a bench role (84 games, 129 PA).
10 - Dickerson, Corey - OF
The Rays’ power hitting outfielder should be even quicker on his feet in 2017 after shedding 25 pounds in the off-season. Tropicana Field was not kind to his offense last year, but he posted a 149 wRC+ against right handed pitching on the road.
13 - Miller, Brad - INF
I’ll let Fangraphs do the talking:
Exactly 36 batters hit 30 or more home runs in 2016 (just 19 in 2015), yet only two of those did so while starting at least 10 games at shortstop. The first is perennial All-Star Manny Machado (37 HR) and the other is 27-year old batting glove-less Miller, who finished the season with 30 home runs (22 of which came at home)...
Miller takes over at second base this season after the surprise swap of gold glove caliber Logan Forsythe for star pitching prospect Jose De Leon.
17 - Díaz, Jumbo - RHP
Jumbo Diaz, the last man added to the bullpen, is a hulking, 280 lbs. righty that boasts a 97 mph fastball and a changeup with 10 mph of separation. Somehow that change was used only 5.5% of the time last season. Expect that pitch’s usage to increase with the Rays.
18 - Bourjos, Peter - OF
It’s been a wild spring for Bourjos, who had to switch coasts late in the spring after being traded to the Rays from the White Sox. Older than most Rays players, he still boasts plus defense and will provide comfort to the Rays in knowing good defenders are available on the bench. In right field for the Phillies last season, 66 of his plays made were considered “out of zone” (OOZ) in less than 100 games played, a near elite level.
20 - Souza Jr., Steven - OF
Sometimes you don't need to look. You just know. pic.twitter.com/SW3NDda8vO— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 31, 2017
Tape don’t lie.
Here’s what Souza does to pitches in the zone.
He murders them.
Souza’s improvements in 2017 will come from punishing more pitches left in the zone. His contact rate inside the zone last season (75.3%) was the eighth-lowest in baseball among hitters with 100 PA last season.
22 - Archer, Chris - RHP
Chris Archer had some issues early in 2016 with a 4.66 ERA, but cut his first half walk rate dramatically (9.9% to 5.2%), while upping his strikeouts as well (16.9% to 22.9%). Ultimately he settled in nicely with an ace-like 3.25 ERA, 3.29 FIP and 3.15 xFIP in the second half, all while dominating high leverage opportunities.
Dynamic use of his slider has recently taken Archer to an elite level.
23 - Odorizzi, Jake - RHP
Odorizzi had trouble with the longball too last season, but stranded a remarkable 87% of runners in the second half last season, making his issues appear more isolated incidents.
24 - Eovaldi, Nathan+ - RHP
Big fastball, great splitter, unlikely to pitch in 2017 due to Tommy John surgery, but you might see him in the dugout.
26 - Boxberger, Brad* - RHP
24.1 IP — that’s as many innings the Rays former closer was able to put together in 2016, and he’s dealing with another injury. Consider last year a wash, and pray his fastball returns to form with health in 2017.
28 - Rasmus, Colby* - OF
0 — that’s the number of Gold Gloves on his shelf right now, and Rasmus is ready to change that. After playing much of 2016 injured, Rasmus cleaned up his ear cyst (which resulted in vertigo) and a lower body injury through surgery, and should be ready to take the field soon.
On offense, last year wasn’t pretty, but Rasmus posted wRC+ of 130, 104, and 117 over the previous three seasons, and reunited with his old hitting coach Chad Mottola by joining Tampa Bay this year.
29 - Robertson, Daniel - INF
0 — that’s the number of major league innings Daniel Robertson has under his belt. After recovering from a broken hamate bone last season, Robertson showcased a sweet enough swing to justify a long look this spring, and his defense at shortstop earned him the backup role to start the season over the more experienced Nick Franklin, who the Rays designated off the roster instead.
30 - Ramírez, Erasmo - RHP
Erasmo increased his groundball rate to 52.5% last season in a move to the bullpen, but his long relief role did not garner the same results. As a pitcher, Ramirez is about average, but his ability to pitch any day of the week for multiple innings make him a suitable mop up guy, with a chance to be something more.
31 - Cedeño, Xavier - LHP
The lone lefty in the Rays bullpen, Xavier didn’t strand as many batters as the Rays hoped in 2016, but flashed a 2.64 FIP, indicating he can earn top notch results. Expect him to serve longer stretches in more high leverage situations this year.
33 - Norris, Derek - C
Norris has proven himself to be a dependable, everyday catcher behind this dish, suiting up in at least 125 games each of the last three years with top of the league framing numbers. He was the Rays opening day catcher, and put on quite a masterclass in blocking pitches in the dirt.
35 - Andriese, Matt - RHP
First time through the batting order as SP: 3.12 ERA, 2.95 FIP
Second time through the batting order as SP: 4.95 ERA, 4.82 FIP
Matt Andriese married his cutter with his changeup last season, and after starting 19 games across the season will get another shot at starting in 2017 to see how effective his new change really is in longer stints. Otherwise, it’s back to the ‘pen with the promotion of Jose De Leon.
37 - Colomé, Alex - RHP
The sole Rays representative at last year’s All-Star game, No. 37 for the Rays finished the year with 37 saves, a 1.91 ERA, and, more impressively, 93% of batters left on base — only Andrew Miller stranded more runners in 2016.
38 - Tolleson, Shawn+ - RHP
Tolleson saved 35 games for the Rangers in 2015 before leaving the sport for family matters in 2016. He struggled to get properly back on the mound, and continues to do so with arm and back strains this spring.
39 - Kiermaier, Kevin - CF
Kiermaier is the best outfield defender in baseball, and recently signed an extension with the Rays through 2022 or 2023, with $53.5 million guaranteed. Tampa Bay will move him to the 2-hole this season, the most important spot in the lineup, in hopes that his second half 10.5% walk rate (29 walks in 277 plate appearances) is here to stay.
40 - Ramos, Wilson+ - C
The best free agent catcher on the open market signed a two-year deal with the Rays at $12.5 million, large in part because he is recovering from a torn ACL. Ramos is eligible to return on May 29th, but will likely begin as a DH before slow transitioning to catching again.
43 - Farquhar, Danny - RHP
After sacrificing his cutter and sinker at the altar of Jim Hickey, Farq has become a Rays pitcher through and through: rising fastball (43% usage), swing and miss change (33%), and a groundball inducing breaking ball. The transition allowed too many line drives last season, so the trick will be coaxing more batters to swing under the fastball in 2017.
45 - Sucre, Jesús - C
Sucre has appeared in only 90 games since 2013, a career depth catcher not unlike the Rays manager Kevin Cash. Only 28, the Rays acquired him off the Mariners depth chart, and to the surprise of everyone involved, the backstop won the coaching and pitching staffs over. He may not hit, but the Rays don’t care. Sucre is all about defense and instilling confidence. He’s a suitable back up until Ramos returns from injury.
49 - Hunter, Tommy - RHP
Tommy Hunter’s best asset has always been that he walks hardly any batter, but he transformed as a reliever in 2013, walking only a batter per nine ever since; however, Hunter’s strikeout numbers have been on the decline, falling from 20% when he converted, to 18% for a couple years, to just 12% in the second half last season.
The Rays think they have a fix to that:
On Tommy Hunter, Jim Hickey projecting "a spike in his strikeout numbers" - "extremely open" player who "embraced" Rays changes - @RaysRadio— Danny Russell (@d_russ) April 3, 2017
I can’t help but wonder if it will have something to do with returning to 2015’s cutter movement, which had a bit more run and a higher whiff rate, but we will have to see what changes he made overall.
50 - Pruitt, Austin - RHP
Pruitt made his debut on Opening Day, and boy did things not go his way — entering the game and leaving three batters later without recording an out. He held a 22.7% strikeout rate in Durham last season, and the Rays believe in his mound presence and capabilities, so it’s still wait and see on the 5’11” rookie from Texas.
53 - Cobb, Alex - RHP
22.0 innings and 5 starts was all we got to see of Alex Cobb last season during his recovery from Tommy John surgery. A former ace on the staff, it’s a make or break year for the godfather of the split-change. Cobb returning to form could make or break this Rays season.
54 - Gadea, Kevin+ - RHP
Acquired in the Rule 5 draft, the Rays have to keep prospect Gadea on the starting 25-man roster all season to keep him in the organization, otherwise he must be given back to the Mariners. He can begin rehabbing in June with an eye on joining the Rays, but if his velocity hasn’t returned, the arm injury may be serious.