The Tampa Bay Rays Keep Going Over
The Tampa Bay Rays have never been mistaken for an offensive juggernaut. Even in their best years under Joe Maddon ) it was pitching that keyed Tampa’s success and in the more lean recent seasons, run production has been even harder to come by. But that’s not the case this season—the Rays are putting runs on the board and for baseball bettors, it’s provided substantial moneymaking opportunity.
Tampa Bay is fourth in the AL in runs scored, good under any circumstances, but even more dramatic when you consider how it exceeds expectations. The Rays have played to the Over on the totals line nearly 58 percent of the time this season. That’s the sixth-most in all of baseball. And it’s more than any of the heralded offenses in their division—that’s the Rays go Over more often than any of the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays or Orioles.
With the fifth-best ERA in the American League, Tampa Bay isn’t going Over because of a lack of pitching. It is the offense driving profits. To properly assess the capacity for this continuing, let’s look at the four players most responsible for the lineup’s success…
Logan Morrison—The 29-year-old first baseman has popped 16 home runs already and his .551 slugging percentage is a career best—by over 100 points.
Colby Rasmus—An up-and-down career path has taken him from being a prized prospect in St. Louis to a washout in Toronto to a revival story in Houston and now to Tampa. Rasmus is slugging .563, easily the best in his career.
Steven Souza—A complete offensive threat, with a .374 on-base percentage and .484 slugging percentage, Souza is in his third full year as a regular outfielder. At age 28, this is another case of a player dramatically exceeding previous career highs.
Corey Dickerson—The most productive Ray of all, the 28-year-old Dickerson has an OBP/Slugging stat line of .378/.602. That’s MVP-caliber. And while decidedly a career-best, Dickerson has consistently shown good pop, slugging in the .460 to .560 neighborhood in a previous mix of part-time and full-time duty.
The fact all of these players are having career-best years and by huge margins is going to lead a lot of bettors to conclude that a downturn is inevitable. That has to be given serious consideration. But there is a flip side.
I chose to list the ages of the players because all are at the point in the careers where breakout seasons happen. It would be a fortunate break for Tampa if Morrison, Souza and Dickerson all had that breakout year simultaneously and in a year where Rasmus also ended up on the high end of his roller-coaster. But while fortunate, it wouldn’t be unheard of—the Kansas City Royals rode a similar wave in 2014.
The other factor is the name that’s not listed here. Evan Longoria is struggling with a stat line of .318/.416. Longoria is only 31, so there’s no reason to think it’s age. If any of the above four players slide back, he can make up some of the difference.
Baseball bettors must not only monitor the Rays’ lineup, but also reaction in Las Vegas where the market has underpriced the offense. I invite you to let me handle your baseball handicapping decisions—I have won 7 of last 9 baseball bets and am confident of a hot summer run. Get on board with me today.