Welcome back to Rays Roundtable — pull up a chair. Throughout the season, we will be gathering the DRB minds-that-be together for brief chats about the Rays. These might be light-hearted or more analytical, but they will (hopefully) always be entertaining. Part of the beauty of baseball is the variety of opinions it draws out, and this is a good chance to see some of those differing opinions right next to each other in short, digestible segments. Today’s topic: Small Sample Size goofiness.
Darby Robinson: The position we all thought would be dominant...
Daniel Robertson and Joey Wendle have paired up to give the Rays one of the best 2B combos in the majors. Rays 2B rank 9th in the MLB by fWAR, ahead of Cleveland (24th), New York (both of them), and Boston (27th).
On offense, the group is lead by Daniel Robertson’s insane and totally sustainable .538 OBP. Among players with at least 10 PA, DRob’s totally reasonable 38.5 BB% is the best in baseball, beating out Freddie Freeman (35.3%) and Bryce Harper (30.3%).
Daniel Robertson and Joey Wendle combine to be the best defensive group at 2B in all of baseball with a 1.1 DEF rating from Fangraphs (no other team’s 2B has more than 0.9) . DRob and Wendle rank 4th and 6th individually in 2B DEF. DRob places a tick ahead of the slick gloved Javier Baez, and Wendle a tenth higher than last year’s MVP Jose Altuve. Amongst 2B, Joey Wendle is also the current king of 2B range, lapping the board with a commanding 74.1 UZR/150 (miles ahead of the 2nd place 2nd basemen Deven Marrero at 49.1).
Daniel Robertson and Joey Wendle, with their bats and with their gloves, have taken 2018 by charge. Is it too crazy to predict that the Rays will be sending TWO 2B to the All Star game this year?
(Yes, very much so. It’s a ludicrously silly idea)
Jim Turvey: Newfound ace
All aboard the S.S. SSS (a joke that I am recycling for the third year running now)! There are so many juicy options here. Jesus Sucre leading the Rays in all three triple slash stats! Rob Refsnyder walking in over half of his plate appearances! The Rays offense totaling only 61 home runs on the season! (OK, that last one seems like it actually may happen.)
In the end, there’s only one answer, though, and it’s that we have found the 2018 American League Cy Young award winner.
What if I told there was a man who has a 0.00 ERA, 0.000 WHIP, and he can slow his changeup down to a cool 70 mph. (He’s got an on-base percentage over .500, to boot - move over, Shohei!). Who is this mystery man?
Why is Daniel Robertson, second baseman by day, newest member of the Rays ever-increasing Bullpen Day by night.
Robertson may not have topped 80 on the radar gun with his fastball, but this is a guy who understands he has a defense behind him for a reason. Let the batter put the ball in play, and let those guys behind you be your best friend. No need to nibble - just attack! Defense wins championships! One-inning samples are more than enough to lock in your legacy! The Will To Win! Hawk Harrelson, OUT!
Ian Malinowski: Championship
The Rays only have one win! On pace for 20 wins! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.