We are hours away from watching the American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays (I really like writing that) begin their 2021 season. We gathered our writers to share their hottest Rays predictions for the coming year.
My bold prediction is that the World Series will be Padres/Rays and the Rays will win it when they break open a scoreless game against starter Blake Snell, who is left in to face the order for the third time.
The Rays pitching staff in August will look nothing like it does on April 1 (for those losing sleep over which pitchers made the Opening Day roster).
Of the 13 or so pitchers who will be on the active roster on August 1, I predict that only 6 of them would have been on the roster on April 1. I also predict that at least one of the Rays games at Fenway next week will be delayed or postponed by something cold and slushy that they label a “wintry mix.”
Michael Wacha is the second best pitcher on the staff, with over 3.0 rWAR in 160 innings. People will wonder how this happened and opine that the Rays are magic. (Narrator: It wasn’t magic, the stuff was already there, in plain site). Meanwhile, Dietrich Enns is the breakout reliever of the year, and receives 5-7 saves, third on the team.
Ryan Yarborough gets Cy Young votes this year as the Rays win the American League East, again. Oh, and Ryan Thompson finishes the year with the most team saves.
The offense is very deep and be what carries this team. The Rays will end the season in the top five in runs scored. They will outscore the 2009 Rays team (803 runs) for most runs scored in team history.
Josh Fleming is the second best starter on the team by May.
Randy Arozarena has a 30/30 season. Yoshi Tsutsugo hits 30+ HR. Rich Hill is released by June (sorry!). Wander Franco isn’t promoted until September. Michael Wacha is a Cy Young candidate.
The Rays win the American League East; Wander Franco will not be called up to the majors in 2021.
Rays win the American League East and Tyler Glasnow is the American League Cy Young Award winner.
The Rays win the American League East and beat the Padres in the World Series.
This Rays team may be a slightly worse team than it was last year, but so is pretty much every good team in the American League except the Blue Jays and possibly the White Sox—neither of whom I am quite ready to classify as a top tier team.
Despite their subtractions, the Rays are still pretty comfortably the deepest and best team in the league. All of this ‘transition’ talk is an elaborate deep fake. This is a team that can field not one but two competitive major league rosters. Wait... is that what Sternberg really meant by two cities?
Following in the footsteps of LeBron James in becoming a GOAT who owns a share of a baseball team, Tom Brady buys a stake in his local team, the Tampa Bay Rays...
With opening day today, excited to announce we’re bringing the Expos back to the MLB in 2022. Excited to be the first player/coach/owner in MLB history. pic.twitter.com/Sre5y5LUL2— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) April 1, 2021
Oh, and Willy Adames is the third best hitter on the team in 2021.
And perhaps the hottest take of all:
The All Star Game will be moved from Atlanta, and will be relocated to Tropicana Field. Between the Home Run Derby and the game itself, the catwalks will come into play 17 times. However, instead of complaining, the broadcast team will wax poetic about how wonderfully quirky the park is, and how it does not deserve its reputation as a dump.