Rays MLB Betting Season Prediction

Rays MLB Betting Season Prediction

Why do other Major League Baseball owners hate the Tampa Bay Rays? Because they keep winning on a tiny payroll and it makes the big-spending teams look bad. Here’s a look at the 2022 Rays, although obviously things will change when free agency reopens after the lockout.

  • Odds to win World Series: +1500
  • Odds to win American League: +700
  • Odds to win AL East: +300

MLB Analysis 2022 season

Tampa Bay led the American League with 100 wins last season, winning the AL East by a whopping eight games. The Rays clinched the best record in the AL for the third time and became the first AL club to do so in back-to-back seasons since the 2011-12 Yankees. Tampa ended the season with sole possession of the AL’s best record for 61 straight days from Aug 6 through the end of the season.

The Rays ranked 2nd in the majors with a club-record 857 runs scored behind the Astros (863). Tampa held the majors’ outright lead in runs scored for 24 days, including a 21-day stretch from Aug 29–Sep 18. The Rays scored 7 runs (or more) in 62 games, most in the majors over the Astros (55). After the July 23 debut of trade acquisition Nelson Cruz, the Rays averaged 5.89 runs per game, leading the majors over the Blue Jays (5.27). The Rays scored 7+ runs in 49.2 pct. (32 of 65) of games after Cruz debuted.

With Cruz and rookie sensation Wander Franco both in the starting lineup together, the Rays totaled 263 runs in 43 games (6.12 runs per game). The Rays tied for 6th in the majors with 222 HR and ranked 7th with 585 walks. They averaged 5.29 runs per game despite 1,542 strikeouts, third in the majors behind the Cubs and Marlins. The Rays ranked 7th in the AL with a .242 avg., 10th in avg. with RISP (.249) and 6th in avg. with RISP/2 outs (.239). No other team in modern MLB history (since 1900) had reached 5.29 runs per game with as low of a batting average as the Rays.

Outfielder Randy Arozarena won the AL Rookie of the Year Award with Franco finishing third. Arozarena was the fourth player in Tampa Bay history to be named Rookie of the Year. He joined Wil Myers (2013), Jeremy Hellickson (’11) and Evan Longoria (’08) and was the first Rays player to win an end-of-season BBWAA award since Blake Snell captured the AL Cy Young Award in ’18. Arozarena became the first player in either league to be named Rookie of the Year after winning a postseason MVP award, as his historic October run in 2020 included AL Championship Series MVP honors.

Pitching-wise, the Rays finished among the majors’ top ten in ERA for a fifth straight season. Their 3.67 ERA ranked 4th in the majors and led the AL, the third time in franchise history they led the league (2019, 2012). The Rays allowed 3 runs (or fewer) in 85 games, most in the AL over the White Sox (82). Tampa ended the regular season having yielded 4 runs (or fewer) in 16 consecutive games, the longest such streak in club history.

Alas, the team was upset by the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, dropping the final three after winning 5-0 in Game 1. The Sox clinched at home with a 6-5 win in Game 4. In the third inning the Rays went to Shane McClanahan on short rest. It was a risk and it backfired as he gave up a single, a walk and then a three-run homer.

Before the lockout shut things down, the Rays didn’t sign any major free agents, but then again they never do. Tampa did add former AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber on a one-year, $8 million contract. Kluber again struggled with injuries in 2021, but the veteran right-hander registered a 3.83 ERA over 80 innings (16 starts) for the Yankees when healthy and he threw a no-hitter against the Rangers.

There’s talk that the team may trade Gold Glove outfielder Kevin Kiermaeier when things open up again. Kiermaier is owed $12 million in the final year of his contract in 2022. Injuries are a concern, but he’s an elite defender and respectable enough offensively.

The biggest deal this offseason was Tampa signing young superstar Franco to an 11-year, $182 million contract extension. The massive multi-year extension, which could be worth up to $223 million with options and incentives, represents the largest contract in franchise history and will keep Franco in Tampa Bay through the 2032 season. At age 20, Francos slashed .288/.347/.463 with seven homers and two steals across 308 plate appearances in his debut. He also cobbled together a historic 43-game on-base streak from July 25 through September 29.

Tampa is scheduled to open the season on March 31 in Boston but that’s looking pretty unlikely.  

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