The Rays enter 2009 boasting one of the most impressive young pitching staffs in all of baseball, despite losing 14-game winner Edwin Jackson to a trade. We expect to see and hear a lot about young phenom David Price, but don’t expect him to be handed a spot in a rotation already including Kazmir, Shields, Garza, and Sonnanstine. The Rays will more than likely be careful with Price in the early going.
The lineup is essentially the same, minus the right field spot now filled by Matt Joyce. The bullpen figures to be another strong spot for this exciting young Rays franchise. However, with the additions made to the Evil Empire and the Nation, the Rays will more than likely miss out on a playoff spot. Don’t be surprised if they do so with 90+ wins.
Tampa Bay Rays Surprise Player of 2009
You’re expecting David Price here, right? Well, I’m going with Matt Joyce.
By now, every respectable baseball fan is well aware of Price, but that may not be the case with Joyce. Matt Joyce was acquired via trade for the previously mentioned Edwin Jackson. Now, Jackson is a deeply talented pitcher, so obviously Joyce is something special.
The left-handed hitting outfielder has a tremendous glove and features a surprising amount of power (he hit 25 home runs between his time in AAA and the majors last season). Although he will likely be sharing time with Kapler and Gross, we should get a chance to see what he can do this year.
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