Countdown to Opening Day: Are The Rays Championship Worthy?
We are three days away from Opening Day and now all has been done to prepare for the season and it will be showcased in front of millions of fans and analysts. So now that Joe Maddon and his squad are ready for action, are the Tampa Bay Rays a team that can make it to the championship?
It's been said before. This is the year that the Rays will go all the way. Is it? We've said this for the past two years and they've led the American League in ERA but their offense has been a little rusty. Today, it's a different story.
Even though the offseason didn't see any dramatic changes or progressive improvements, there are players on this team that will make a huge impact on the season. James Loney and David DeJesus stayed to play and they added Ryan Hanigan to replace Jose Lobaton. Logan Forsythe is now on board and his playing style replicates Ben Zobrist, which is definitely a good thing.
If the Rays are going to make their way to the top of the AL, they need Evan Longoria to have an incredible season and Wil Myers needs to shine as well.
Luckily for the Rays, Longoria is one of the best in the AL, but has he progressed enough to give them the edge they need this season? It's hard to see if he has actually improved over the past 6 years that he's been in the league. His numbers are impressive but he's never had an absolutely fantastic, flawless season.
Myers is close to becoming a 100-RBI player who can eventually be a definite All-Star. He's an asset to this team that, with massive offensive production, can make it to the top.
While the Rays aren't perfect, there don't seem to be any screaming weaknesses to speak of right now. They just need a little more scoring this year to separate themselves from other hot teams.
Opening Day is Monday March 31st!
For more on this story visit: Matthew Pouliot, Hardball Talk