The Tampa Bay Rays had a good 20222 when they finished five games above .500 with 86 wins and 76 losses. The problem for the Rays is that they play in the tough American League East. with the New York Yankees winning the division with 99 wins and the Toronto Blue Jays having 92 wins. That means the Rays have a pair of teams to run down to win the division.
The Tampa Bay Rays start the season at home with a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers at Tropicana Field that begins on Thursday, March 30. After a quick, three-tilt series against the Washington Nationals on the road, the Rays return home for three against the Oakland Athletics and then four against the Boston Red Sox.
Here are three questions for the Rays ahead of the 2023 season.
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Three Key Questions
Will the analytics prove to be effective again?
Plenty of organizations in MLB could strive to be a little more like the Tampa Bay Rays. This is a team that isn’t going to outspend anyone, but their data-driven, analytics-heavy approach always keeps them competitive in a tough division. They will again be looking for that approach to be effective, hoping that meticulously identified offseason additions will add to an already impressive array of young talent.
Can Wander Franco stay healthy?
Wander Franco is the key cog that will drive this team forward in the lineup. Last season he was only able to appear in 83 games – essentially missing half of the season – with injuries to his hand and hamstring. The hamstring was especially frustrating as it is an injury that is hard to judge regarding returning to full health. Franco put up a 2.3 fWAR and 116 wRC+, and at the tender age of 22, he still has years of baseball growth ahead of him. If he goes off, then this lineup becomes a top-10 unit.
Does the pitching continue to succeed?
Tyler Glasnow will miss the start of the season with an oblique issue, and it is important that the Rays don’t get hasty and rush him back into the rotation before he is ready. His ERA of just north of 3.0 with the Rays suggests he can become the ace that was expected at one point in his development. They should be able to lean on Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen, Jeffrey Springs, and Yonny Chirinos until Glasnow can be worked back into the rotation.
Upcoming Rays Home Games (Before the All-Star Break)
Thu, March 30 – Detroit Tigers
Fri, April 7 – Oakland Athletics
Sat, April 8 – Oakland Athletics
Sun, April 9 – Oakland Athletics
Mon, April 10 – Boston Red Sox
Tue, April 11 – Boston Red Sox
Wed, April 12 – Boston Red Sox
Thu, April 13 – Boston Red Sox
Fri, April 21 – Chicago White Sox
Sat, April 22 – Chicago White Sox
Sun, April 23 – Chicago White Sox
Mon, April 24 – Houston Astros
Tue, April 25 – Houston Astros
Wed, April 26 – Houston Astros
Tue, May 2 – Pittsburgh Pirates
Wed, May 3 – Pittsburgh Pirates
Thu, May 4 – Pittsburgh Pirates
Fri, May 19 – Milwaukee Brewers
Sat, May 20 – Milwaukee Brewers
Sun, May 21 – Milwaukee Brewers
Mon, May 22 – Toronto Blue Jays
Tue, May 23 – Toronto Blue Jays
Wed, May 24 – Toronto Blue Jays
Thu, May 25 – Toronto Blue Jays
Fri, May 26 – Los Angeles Dodgers
Sat, May 27 – Los Angeles Dodgers
Sun, May 28 – Los Angeles Dodgers
Tue, June 20 – Baltimore Orioles
Wed, June 21 – Baltimore Orioles
Thu, June 22 – Kansas City Royals
Fri, June 23 – Kansas City Royals
Sat, June 24 – Kansas City Royals
Sun, June 25 – Kansas City Royals
Tue, July 4 – Philadelphia Phillies
Wed, July 5 – Philadelphia Phillies
Thu, July 6 – Philadelphia Phillies