2022 Tampa Bay Rays Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
The Tampa Bay Rays had a positive 2021 season in which they finished with a 100-62 record, which was the best in the AL East. They were knocked out of the playoffs in the AL Division Series to the Boston Red Sox, sending them home earlier than the team had hoped. The core of this unit has remained mostly intact and will be geared up for a run this season.
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The Rays may not have been a team to make a major splash in free agency, but they did a decent job adding depth to the roster. Corey Kluber will likely turn out to be the most important addition as he was given a one-year deal to help settle the injury-ridden starting rotation. The 35-year-old has a career ERA of 3.19 and is a two-time Cy Young Award winner. The Rays also added Brooks Raley to the bullpen and made news by giving an 11-year extension to shortstop Wander Franco.
There are a few role players that the Rays allowed to walk, but it is clear the Rays front office believes in its current core. Colin McHugh will likely be the biggest loss as he was incredibly productive in the bullpen last season. McHugh had a 1.55 ERA in the 64 innings he pitched and took a two-year, $10 million deal with the Braves this offseason.
- Brandon Lowe (2B)- .247 BA 39 HR
- Wander Franco (SS)- .288 BA 7 HR
- Austin Meadows (DH)- .234 BA 27 HR
- Randy Arozarena (LF)- .274 BA 20 HR
- Ji-Man Choi (1B)- .229 BA 11 HR
- Yandy Diaz (3B)- .256 BA 13 HR
- Mike Zunino (C)- .216 33 HR
- Manuel Margot (RF)- .254 10 HR
- Kevin Kiermaier (CF)- .259 BA 4 HR
It was the Rays’ offense that drove the team’s success last season as they ranked second in the AL in runs scored and fifth in OPS. Most of their core will be kept intact as Wander Franco and Brandon Lowe served as major driving forces of the team last season. Randy Arozarena continued his increased production, and Mike Zunino had a career year last season, hitting 33 Homeruns as a platoon of a catcher and DH.
- Shane McClanahan (LHP)- 3.43 ERA
- Drew Rasmussen (RHP)- 3.35 ERA
- Corey Kluber (RHP)- 3.19 ERA
- Ryan Yarbrough (LHP)- 4.30 ERA
- Luis Patino (RHP)- 4.47 ERA
This is likely the biggest question mark with the Rays as the injury bug has bit the team heavily. Shane Baz was expected to be a key piece of the Rays rotation, but the 22-year-old will likely be sidelined for the remainder of the season after receiving elbow surgery. Tyler Glasnow is also recovering from Tommy John’s surgery and is unlikely to pitch for the entirety of 2022. Brendan McKay is expected to be healthy and available but is coming off thoracic-outlet surgery, which does not have an encouraging success rate. And Yonny Chirinos fractured his elbow while recovering from Tommy John surgery, which will hold him out for the first half of the season. The Rays have a very deep pitching roster as an organization, but the sheer number of injury concerns is certainly worrisome.
The bullpen pitching was also a strong point of this Rays team as they led the AL in bullpen ERA last season while leading the entire MLB in innings pitched. The Rays have an impressive track record for managing the bullpen led by quick hooks of the starting unit. Given the questions of the starting unit, this unit will need to continue to be the case if the team is to succeed.
While the Tampa Bay Rays may be mostly the same team as last season, Vegas clearly expects them to take a step back this season. The injury concerns with the starting rotation could prove to be too much, and even a productive offensive season with impressive bullpen performances might not be enough to overcome this. Despite winning 100 games last season, the team’s over/under is set at 89.5 on the year. The Rays are also given the ninth-best odds to win the World Series at +1700.
There is still a lot to like about this Rays team, but it feels as if everything must break their way for the season to be a success. The AL East will be a very competitive division this year, with the Yankees and Blue Jays both projected to have better seasons. The Rays having the third-best odds to even win the division at +320 is evidence of this. There does seem to be value in betting against the Rays this year as the team is +165 not to make the playoffs despite the concerns with the team. Given the injury concerns on the pitching staff, and the competition in the division, this line is worth taking with the expectation that Tampa cannot overcome the injury-ridden pitching staff.
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