Baseball Prospectus has released their annual PECOTA projections for the 2019 season with plenty of favorable predictions of the Tampa Bay Rays.
For their projected record, PECOTA has the Rays finishing the year with a 86-76 mark, which would be good enough for the second American League Wild Card spot, as well as the third-best record in the division.
PECOTA is projecting the following players to be the starting position players for the Rays
- Mike Zunino, C
- Yandy Diaz, 1B
- Joey Wendle, 2B
- Matt Duffy, 3B
- Willy Adames, SS
- Tommy Pham, LF
- Kevin Kiermaier, CF
- Austin Meadows, RF
- Ji-Man Choi, Dh
Tommy Pham is projected to be the team’s top hitter, with a 113 DRC+. Avisail Garcia, Yandy Diaz, and Brandon Lowe trail just behind in that regard.
One player that PECOTA is not kind to, is outfielder Austin Meadows, who despite being projected as the team’s starting right fielder is projected to hit just .225/.280/.396 with 465 total plate appearances, producing -0.5 WAPR, the worst mark on the team.
Kevin Kiermaier is rated as the team’s top player, thanks to his defensive capabilities, he is projected to accrue 2.9 WARP over the course of the season.
Meanwhile, the Rays core starting players are all projected to be at least one win above replacement level, with PECOTA predicting solid years all around the Rays lineup.
On the pitching side of things, PECOTA is expecting another strong year from Blake Snell at 3.3 WARP, while also projecting solid campaigns from Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow.
After the big three, it gets interesting in the Rays system as it’s a mix of openers, bulk guys, and of course the traditional backend of the bullpen arms.
Jose Alvarado is slated to be the team’s top reliever, building off a strong 2018 season. PECOTA is kind to several other pitcher on the Rays staff, expecting big years from Diego Castillo, Ryne Stanek, and Hunter Wood.