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Archive for the ‘Rays’ Category

You don’t have to reach far these days to find examples of how the St. Petersburg Times doesn’t make use of the best objectivity when covering the home town Rays. In the most recent episode of the series, Gary Shelton has told the fellow fans of the Tampa Bay Rays to accept mediocrity. We the fans of the Tampa Bay baseball club should just accept a nice ride, and not have championship level aspirations.  This theme is an insult for every die hard fan that hopes his team does everything they can to give his/her team a chance to win a championship.

As a fan of any sport, everyone knows that winning a championship takes talent, dedication, and a little luck.  However, the message here is the fans should just throw in the towel and enjoy the ride.  We shouldn’t want to be like the die hard fans of let say the Yankees where the goal is a championship. For every Rays fan  that is still on board after suffering through the first decade of this franchise,  this message here is that we should go back and be a part of that thinking of being unsuccessful.  We should go back in time like the days of Vince Naimoli, and rather than wanting to win, we should focus on how much the owners profited rather than putting a winner on the field.

I personally don’t want this franchise to be remembered as the team that serves as a farm team for the rest of MLB, like the Pirates of the recent decade. Instead, I hope that the franchise is remembered by the championships they won. For a long while this franchise had nothing and sure now at least we have 2008. But, I want more than that. The players want more than that. You should want more than that for this franchise.   Don’t settle.

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Those of you who have been following my site for a while know I am big time into fantasy baseball. In past years,  my favorite resource for getting ready for the draft and the baseball season is USA Today’s must see LABR draft issue. The LABR issue comes out in late March. Until then, there is a wide variety of publications to choose from at reasonable costs.

Leading off is another edition of the DRAYS BAY Annual. This is by far the best one yet, with a bunch of talented writers contributing. I never imagined that the DRB franchise would evolve into such am intelligent community.

Next on the new ticket, is an introductory sabermetrics book just published last week by Lee Panas that is titled Beyond Batting Average. This book introduces fans to sabermetrics with easy to understand explanations and examples. My site was even referenced in the book:

Both the BA/OBP/SLG and BA/EOBP/ISO combinations are limited, due to the fact that they fail to take playing time into account.  For example, a hitter with a .300 BA/.360 OBP/.500 SLG in 600 PA would contribute more to his team than a hitter with the same line in 300 PA.  David Bloom, of BaseballHappenings.com, suggests using OBP/SLG/TOB/TB because it combines both rate measures (OBP, SLG) and playing time statistics (TOB, TB).  However, BA/OBP/SLG is still the most common combination in the sabermetric community.

Next,on tap  for fantasy baseball is the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide.  This is a supplement for just $5 to the Rotoprofessor site which is a great resource for your fantasy help throughout the year. See the Rotoprofessor Interview

Another nicely priced resource is Charlie Saponara Fantasy Baseball 365 Draft guide which can be obtained via a donation.  If you don’t check out the guide, fantasybaseball365.com is where you can find good tips throughout the year. I played in a few expert leagues with Charlie over the years. He knows his stuff.

Other Good Resources:

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A year after making it to the World Series, the Tampa Bay Rays end up in third place the AL East division with an 84-78 record. The Rays batters scored 754 runs in 2009, a number that was 20 less runs than the previous season.  However, the alarming number was the 803 runs given up, as compared to 671 runs given up in 2008.

Pitching Statistics
Name IP K/9 WHIP ERA SO QS HR BIPA DIPS GB FB
SHIELDS 219.2 5.36 1.32 4.14 167 26 29 .299 4.02 308 402
GARZA 203.0 8.38 1.26 3.95 189 19 25 .266 4.19 232 349
KAZMIR 147.1 7.15 1.42 4.89 173 14 16 .290 4.31 160 304
PRICE 128.1 7.15 1.35 4.42 102 10 17 .265 4.61 170 226
NIEMANN 180.2 6.23 1.35 3.94 125 13 17 .287 4.15 240 334

Jeff Niemann finally came on the scene and got his chance to pitch in the Rays starting rotation after battling injuries throughout his minor league career. After getting off to a shaky start in his first few outings, the Rays stuck by him and he lived up to his #1 pick status. By far, Niemann was the surprise of the season for the Rays in the pitching department. In comparison, the Rays David Price had somewhat of a disappointing season.  With a lot of expectations thrown his way,  his performance as a starter in 2009  looked shaky at times. Kazmir had another year of injuries, but managed to string together a few good starts after returning from the injury. The Rays were able to find a trading partner in the Angels. If you saw him pitching in the playoffs, you realize the Rays made the right decision. He simply is not the pitcher he once was. His numbers show that. He is just too inconsistent. After his playoff dominance in 2008, Garza was simply not that pitcher in 2009. He pitched well enough to post decent numbers and peripherals, and is still one of their best pitchers. James Shields simply did not pitch as well as he did the previous season, when he established himself as the Rays#1 Ace. pitcher  His strikeout numbers were down, and gave more runs than was expcted, but still managed the teams top spot in quality starts.

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We  already considered Joe Maddon as a new age, forward thinking, manager based on embracing of the sabertmetrics.  Of course, there is also the infatuation with Malcom Gladwell’s Blink as suggested reading for all his players.  It was last season Maddon stunned the baseball community in 2008 with his 9=8 math .  The Tampa Rays and Joe Maddon came to an agreement for a new contract that keeps him as manager until 2012.

The thing I like most about Maddon is he taught this young group how to win. You never know after the ball game if the team just won or they lost based on his statements. He is consistent and he never really throws a player under the bus. He is a good face for the organization and is respected in baseball circles.

He paid his dues working for the Angels and the Friedman and Sternberg team made the right decision based on the lack of major league managing experience when he first got the job. The first few seasons with the team were rough time trying to change the outlook of the organization. But, its clear this guy is one of the good idea man in all of baseball.

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Gaudin Eyes Petco

The Padres have signed former Rays farm hand Chad Gaudin to  minor league contract.  Gaudin made a wise move in selecting the Padres and Petco Park.  As, it has given other pitchers a new lease on life. Take Scott Linebrink, who was released by Astros in Spring training as a starter all those years ago, and went on to become one of the best relievers in the league.

It  looks as if the Rays quality control coach Todd Greene has some skeletons in his closet. He has been linked to a report he obtained steroids over the phone as a player.  It sure seems he has some explaining to do if he wants to keep his job.

Tulowitski continues to impress, and is showing again he will be a force in NL West.

Scott Boras talks about Nick Adenhart.

SportyTweets is a twitter resource for updates on your favorite team.

Major League weather.com resource

Another mention of the Phillies code red – the lineup issues facing Manuel with Burrell in Tampa and Ibanez another lefty in the mix.

Crasnick ina recent chat on Rays pen: “Percival looked very good in spring training, and he finds a way to get by even though he’s now throwing in the 89-91 range. Plus, Balfour records a lot of valuable outs with strikeouts in the 7th and 8th. Before the year is through, I wouldn’t be surprised to see three or four different guys recording saves for the Rays.”

Graphing 101 –  how to get game day data.

Bring twitter to your wordpress blog.

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At DRAYS BAY, you will find the preview for the 2009 season.    This is the second season preview guide for DRAYS BAY.  As a site I was originally part of (where I was the founding writer), I am proud to see have evolved over the years as a knowledgable community for Rays fans to gather. Go check out the guide. Its free.

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The new ownership of Stuart Sternberg & Co. have come in and said Tropicana field is no longer Under Construction.  If baseball was ever to work in Tampa for the long term, you couldn’t have asked for better timing with a World Series appearance and a young talented team.  But,  Mr. Sternberg has made it clear he is here to turn a profit.   He wants the city and the fans to commit to the area, in the same way he committed to you.  He wants the additional revenue streams that come along with the state of the art brand spanking new ballpark. Who could blame him, he made his riches as an investor.

But, can this thing work in Tampa? I say it can. But, it will come down to the last hours. The Tampa fans are just getting baseball after being tortured with a decade of miserable teams. Surely, the Tampa area does not  want to see the the sign Stadium for Rent.

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