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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: All tuned up and ready to start the season

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Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays

Rays News

Some highlights from the last weekend of Spring Training:

  • We have a roster!
  • We have a pitching rotation, at least for the first time through the rotation:

Some surprise to see both Sheriff and Reed, but keep in mind that guys with options (like Fleming for example) are likely to go up and down. Cash as also noted that this group addresses the specific needs of the first week or two of the season; long/bulk guys like Richards, Fleming and Richards can stay stretched out at the alternate site, returning when the team needs more starters.

And as for the “Hill or Archer,” not crazy to think this could be “Hill AND Archer.”

  • Speaking of our Opening Day pitcher, Glasnow had some impressive swing and miss stuff on Saturday. He struck out 10 batters in 5 innings, and this was a close to normal Twins lineup. He seemed to get whiffs on all his pitches, so that new slider appears to be coming along well, although Cash mentioned some continued work needed on his breaking balls.
  • My colleague Brian Menéndez thinks Glasnow has already made progress in differentiating the velocity on his pitches:
  • You can read more about Glasnow and what he is doing to try to harness that obvious talent more consistently in profiles here and here ($).
  • On Sunday, number two pitcher Ryan Yarbrough also had his final pre-season appearance and, like Glasnow, can feel good about the results. He pitched into the sixth, allowing three hits and no walks. Sunday’s game also included a 12-run eighth inning, with minor leaguers like Chris Betts and Moises Gomez getting to show off their offensive tools.
  • Speaking of Saturday’s game against the Twins, some strange eighth inning happenings. First the bad news: infield prospect Greg Jones strained his quadricep running out an infield hit in the eight inning. (And this, friends, is why we don’t run out Spring Training grounders). Let’s hope it is not a serious injury. But then oddly enough the Rays didn’t, or couldn’t put in a pinch runner for him (they had run through their bench), so the umpires just chalked it up as another out.
  • The Rays have fallen a few notches on this best bullpen list with Nick Anderson’s injury, but how many teams could lose their lights-out guy but still be a top ten bullpen?
  • Meanwhile, Rays have added some pitching brain power:
  • With vaccinations soon becoming available broadly, players will be among those able to protect themselves and others from infection. Collin McHugh is among them:
  • I usually bristle when national writers talk trash about Tropicana Field (really, it’s not that awful. And if you are going to complain about it, YOU figure out how we’ll find half a billion $ to pay for its replacement!) but this Joe Posnanski column is pretty delightful. He doesn’t like our stadium, not wild about our uniforms, but he recognizes that the Rays are a team that almost always comes in the season able to compete ($).

Around the League

As we start year two of the pandemic, perhaps you need some podcast refreshes? Here’s a new one on the baseball scene from Ben Verlander, Justin’s brother and one-time Tigers prospect.

Old friend alert: Wade Davis is returning to the Royals, where he arguably had some of his best years.