In the eyes of many, the American League East only has two teams: the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. It’s hard to blame anyone that thinks like that (considering both teams are consistently have a top-five payroll amongst the 30 teams) but the low-spending Tampa Bay Rays are ready to give New York and Boston a run for their money.
Last season the Rays finished with a 90-72 record, good for third in the division. This year it looks like the Rays are ready to put that third place finish in the rearview mirror.
Currently the Rays sit at 12-4, good for best record in the MLB with the red hot Seattle Mariners sitting right behind them. People can talk all about it is just a hot start for the team from St.Pete but I am here to tell you why that is not the case.
The Rays have always been able to win without spending very much at all and this year is no different. Their 25-man payroll is currently last in the MLB at around $49 million. To put that in perspective, the Red Sox are paying David Price $31 million this year alone. Still, that does not matter to the Rays.
Tampa Bay has a litany of young players on cheap deals that are performing at a very high level to start 2019. Two players from last season’s Chris Archer deal- Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows- have been hotter than a ghost pepper. Meadows is hitting .357 with 6 bombs already while Glasnow has a 0.53 ERA in three starts.
Tampa’s success does not stop there either. Veterans Kevin Kiermaier and Charlie Morton have also been off to great starts. Add Blake Snell and Tommy Pham to that list as well.
It is definitely easy to laugh this team off, but do not be surprised if by season’s end they are in the playoffs while the Yankees and / or Red Sox are going golfing.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)