It’s slow out there right now. Like molasses dripping on a cool Tampa Bay evening slow. For Rays fans who seemed to be one move away from being VERY happy with the club’s offseason, this can be frustrating. But if you’re like me (as in forgetful), you may have kind of zoned out in regards to Daniel Robertson, the Rays 24-year-old who makes the term “utility infielder” a compliment rather than insult.
The former A’s prospect came to the Rays before the 2017 season, but it was his impact in the 2018 season that stood out, slashing .262/.382/.415/127 (wRC+) in 340 plate appearances before seeing his second season with the club cut short with a thumb injury in early August. When he went down, Robertson was the team leader in fWAR, and no Ray that finished the 2018 season with as many PA as Robertson had as a high a wRC+.
His batting profile checks out, too, as his plate discipline both was, and projects to be, elite, with a career 12.1 walk rate and 25.3 strikeout rate. His 2018 power boost was also underlined by an increase in pull rate, and when he swings, he makes it count. Robertson has made appearances at five different positions (not including his brief appearance on the mound!) in a Rays uniform, and he hypothetically could suit up anywhere on the field, sans catcher.
He’s not a flashy free agent like Nelson Cruz or a shiny new toy like Edwin Encarnacion or Jose Martinez would be, but let’s not forget what a useful piece D-Rob is likely to be in 2019.
- It was Daniel Roberston’s interview with Neil Solondz that triggered this post, as Robertson talks with Neil about some of his off-field work:
.@D_Robertson28 & @davewills34 kick off the year right w/ our first podcast of 2019 @neilsolondz https://t.co/poe0odpznF— RaysRadio (@RaysRadio) January 3, 2019
- The Trop is going to be more intimate in 2019!
- A rare Rays article in Forbes lays out another reason why it is unlikely for any potential move for the Rays to somewhere like Montreal any time soon because due to the $200 million cost to break the use agreement for the Trop.
- RazzBall released their top 10 Rays prospects.
- Your daily reminder that we have some really filthy pitchers on this roster:
- Over at Rays Colored Glasses, Ryan gives the recently non-tendered Matt Davidson a look. Righty with a big bat who would come at a cheap buy-low price. Intriguing.
Around the League
- Baseball Prospectus rolled out a couple of fun 2019 features: they will be covering the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) in 2019, and their approach to fantasy baseball will look a little different.
- Ken Rosenthal stayed busy, cranking out another important piece yesterday looking at the lack of movement on the Harper and Machado fronts.
- Staying behind The Athletic pay wall, Cliff Corcoran looked at what it takes for a new baseball stat to make it into the mainstream.
- MLB.com listed a New Year’s Resolution for each team. The Rays is pretty basic, but I certainly agree with it...
- Paul Sporer, the most entertaining fantasy baseball writer, has his five buyback candidates for next season.
- Hey! Remember Chris Archer? Alex Chamberlain looks at whether he can finally put things together to match his peripherals in 2019. That’s a game we here at DRB know alllllll too well.
This article has been edited after an incorrect reference to the Forbes link.