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All-Star voting has begun around Major League Baseball and with the Rays having just swept the Angels out west in Anaheim to get over .500 for the first time in 2016, I thought it fitting to start throwing out there who I believe could be representing our beloved ball club come mid-July.
A couple names may not be too shocking. Then, there’s a few others I’m going to toss out there who could very well be sleepers but not totally out of the running early on to head to San Diego for the “Midsummer Classic”:
- 2B Logan Forsythe – LoFo is picking up right where he left off in 2015 as the team’s most consistent hitter. Quite possibly the most genius move in Kevin Cash’s early managerial career in the Majors was moving Logan to the lead off spot in spring training. Oh…and he’s a pretty slick fielder, too.
2016 Stats: 28 G, 9 2B, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 14 BB, .311/.397/.528, .925 OPS
- RF Steven Souza Jr – He’s healthy and the Rays are getting exactly what they’d hoped they’d get from him after bringing him over from Washington last off season. He leads the team in HR, is 2nd in RBI, and his been pretty consistent hitting around .270-.280 most of the year.
2016 Stats: 26 G, 7 HR, 14 RBI, .277/.327/.543, .869 OPS
- RHP Erasmo Ramirez – Another bold move by Cash this year was to put Erasmo in the ‘pen to start the year and utilize him how he has. It’s worked out better than the Rays ever imagined. Ramirez leads the team and is among league leaders in wins and appearances. He’s been absolutely lock down.
2016 Stats: 14 G, 6-1 1.32 ERA, 27.1 IP, .191 avg against, 0.77 WHIP
- RHP Alex Colome – Someone needed to step into the closer role while Brad Boxberger was out the first month or two of the season and Colome has done that and then some. Perfect in the ninth through the first five weeks of the season.
2016 Stats: 13 G, 2.08 ERA, 9/9 SV, .196 avg against, 0.92 WHIP
- LHP Drew Smyly – Wouldn’t be hard to say Smyly has been the most consistent starter early on for the Rays. Not only consistent, he’s been absolutely dominant at times and nearly unhittable. Cy Young, anyone?
2016 Stats: 1-3, 2.72 ERA, 39.2 IP, 47 K, .167 avg against, 0.78 WHIP
Doubtful all five on this list make the game but they have absolutely been a bright spot in an up and down year for this team. With the Rays starting to, once again, trend upward, who knows who else will emerge. Shortstop Brad Miller is starting to hit a stride and catcher Curt Casali is proving, as he did last year before being injured, that his power swing is legit. Can Corey Dickerson and Desmond Jennings snap out of the funk they’ve both been in for a couple weeks now? This team could be very dangerous if things start to fall into place on a more consistent basis. Those mentioned above are just the hot hands early on.
Who knows what the Rays are capable of if a couple more guys start to step up.
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