Thursday, March 30, 2006

2006 Season Preview - AL East, Those Devil Rays

Tampa Bay Devil Rays
2005 Record: 67-95
Position: 5th

Neil H ended his Baltimore Orioles preview with, 'I think that 2006 may be the year that the Rays finally climb off the bottom of the AL East,' well as I'm doing the Devil Rays preview he'd best hope I agree otherwise we are going to look rather stupid. Luckily for my NY dwelling friend, he and I are on the exact same wavelength, this is the year the Devil Rays start to actually make strides towards a winning season, don't think they'll make it just yet but this is a team that should win 75-80 games this season.

The reason is they have a stacked lineup who can compete with the best in the game. Crawford is a genuine five-tool player and the return of Rocco Baldelli helps this team in many ways. Aubrey Huff can hit, we all know that and last season saw two huge surprises to those who are not avid watchers of either the Rays or Minor League ball as Jonny Gomes and Jorge Cantu performed far better than the casual fan would expect.

Then of course we come to Delmon Young. My good friend Pete J has been banging on about this kid for what seems like an eternity. From what he tells me this kids ceiling is about up there with the Petronas Tower in Malaysia. He has it all and can do it right now but will start at AAA for some bizarre reason that no-one understands. Obviously it is because they have too much depth in the OF, well trade away someone and get some pitching Devil Rays because your starting pitching is rather, erm, suspect. For suspect, see shit.

Beyond Scott Kazmir who I think is a stud, they have no-one that'll frighten the life out of your average Major Leaguers, heck they don't have stuff that would frighten your average Minor Leaguer, or Little Leaguers, or Girls softball leaguer...You catch my drift. Edwin Jackson was a nice pick up if he can harness his stuff and my bold Jeff Niemann pick in a keeper league over Justin Verlander is looking dumber by the day, Oi Niemann, get fit!

If they had an average rotation and an average BP then this team could win 90-95 games, the hitting could be that good, however the rotation is lacklustre and the 'pen is shakier than a building built on sand in the middle of a 9.2 Earthquake.

2006 Projection: 77-85
Position: 4th
Devil Rays Link Blog - D Rays Bay

1 threw a strike:

At 10:32 pm, Blogger Pete J said...

Delmon just had a really underwhelming ST but then again he always starts slowly when he moves up a level. I still think he's a good bet to do what Ryan Howard did last year.


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