Yesterday, I took a look at which of the Rays’ starting pitchers was most likely to be in traded this winter. The list of candidates included Jake Odorizzi, Matt Andriese, Austin Pruitt, Nathan Eovaldi, Brent Honeywell, and Jose De Leon. Now I'd like to project the Rays’ 2018 five-man pitching rotation.
Barring a surprise acquisition, the pitchers who will comprise the Rays' starting rotation in 2018 are already on the roster.
The players who will make up the rotation should not be a huge surprise, as they have each been in the organization for a while.
So, without further ado, my projection for the Rays 2018 five-man pitching rotation.
1. Chris Archer (R) - The lovable kid isn't an ace, but he still belongs in the AL's top-tier of starting pitchers. As long as he is under contract with the Rays, he is the starter at the top of the rotation.
2. Blake Snell (L) - The southpaw has been the Rays best starter since the All-Star break. 12 GS, 69.1 IP, 21.7%K, 7.6%BB, 3.38 ERA, 3.65 FIP. If Snell can continue to develop and mature over the course of the 2018 season, he should be able to give the Rays a confident starter who can be counted on for at least six innings per start.
3. Jacob Faria (R) - The most consistent Rays' starter in 2017. Faria is poised to have a very good 2018. His consistency makes him an ideal third starter for a team that prides itself on pitching and defense as the blueprint to success.
4. Matt Andriese (R) - He's been roughly an average starter at 2017. Giving your team a shot is all you can ask for from a 4-5 starter. Andriese should be just that in 2018.
5. Nathan Eovaldi (R) - Think he will impress enough in spring training to warrant a fifth starter position. He's always been one of the hardest-throwing starters in baseball and provides a solid low-risk, high-reward option for the Rays on an inexpensive contract.
I believe that rotation can be good enough with Archer as your best pitcher. He's not a number one, but there's only a half dozen true number one's in all of baseball. Faria and Snell are two key names that need to pitch well for the Rays to have a bright future. After that, we have a couple of number fives in Andriese and Eovaldi that could be 4-5 depending on performance. This keeps us with Pruitt as a 6th man, long-inning reliever - a role he's much more suited too.
In the event of injury, they have two young prospects in Jose De Leon and Ryan Yarbough who are ready to come up and make a spot start. The two pitchers are also available for promotion in the event that the likely-to-be speculated Chris Archer trade ever comes to fruition. I doubt they will shuttle Honeywell, suggesting they will call him up and let him go to work in the big leagues for good.
On the glass half empty side of things, our depth becomes worrisome if the Rays are down on De Leon and don't view Chih-Wei Hu as a starter. Suddenly then it's just Andriese, Eovaldi, Pruitt, and Honeywell as our 4-5-6-7, with maybe Yonny Chirinos as an extra option. That being said, perhaps the Rays will add a veteran SP on a cheap contract?
What are your thoughts on my projection? Leave a comment.