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The exhibition season is at the midway point and that means Opening Day on Sunday, April 3rd, is getting that much closer. This spring, the Tampa Bay Rays have had quite a few standouts. Some you may know, some you may just be getting to know.
Who’s been turning heads in March this year?
Read on, friends:
- UTIL Taylor Motter: There’s been a lot of buzz around this 26-year old super utility guy. Rightfully so. After raking in AAA last year, Motter has picked right back up in March. He’s hitting .318/.375/.545 and playing well in the field. Don’t be too shocked to see him on the Opening Day roster at this rate.
- OF Jaff Decker: While he’s not on the 40-man roster, Decker, who the Rays signed back on January 26th fresh off a 2015 campaign with the Pirates organization, has been impressive. His slash line is impressive (.409/.409/.591) and shown some definite gap power.
- 1B Kyle Roller: 27-year old first baseman, signed by the Rays back in December, has been solid in his limited time so far this spring. Roller, who came from the Yankees minor league system, has hit .429/.429/.786 this spring. Like Decker, Roller is not on the 40-man but is showing a lot of promise as a solid addition to the organization’s future if they keep him around.
- RP Ryan Webb: The Rays signed him just before the start of camp to provide some bullpen depth – and he hasn’t disappointed. In five games this spring (leads team), Webb has pitched 5.1 innings and allowed just a run while striking out five and holding hitters to a .190 clip.
- RP Dana Eveland: Signed back on December 18 to a minor league contract, Eveland has impressed in the early part of spring. Pitching in four games, he’s allowed no earned runs and has held hitters to a paltry .063 average.
There have been plenty to smile about this spring from the usual suspects, as well. Logan Forsythe and Desmond Jennings have come out of the gates on fire while others such as Nick Franklin and Corey Dickerson have contributed and showed signs they’re ready for Opening Day.
The rotation and bullpen have absolutely had some stars. Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly, and Matt Moore have all looked ready for the season while Jacob Faria and Matt Andriese have been bright spots in the pen.
Defensively the Rays have looked very sloppy. They lead all of Major League Baseball with 21 errors in 15 games and while some of those have come from guys most likely not in the Opening Day picture, it’s still been a concern.
There is absolutely cause for excitement from what fans have seen halfway through the spring season so far. The trip to Cuba is approaching and, as Kevin Cash has said, heavy cuts will be coming after that. Who makes the cut? Will there be some surprises? There almost always is one or two players you don’t expect to still be around come April. One thing is for sure – it’s almost that time. The Blue Jays will be in town before you know it – and the 2016 baseball season will officially be underway.
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