Rays Series Preview: Baseball’s Worst Offense

The Tampa Bay Rays shared a low-scoring two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays and will face the Detroit Tigers for a four-game series. Hopefully more points from the Rays in this series.

The Rays hold a 1.0 lead over the Cleveland Guardians, 1.5 over the Baltimore Orioles, 2.0 over the Chicago White Sox and 3.0 over the Boston Red Sox.

Program:

Thursday 7:10 p.m.: Jeffrey Springs vs. Drew Hutchison
Friday 7:10 p.m.: Corey Kluber vs. TBA
Saturday 6:10 p.m.: Shane McClanahan vs. Garrrett Hill
Sunday 1:40 p.m.: Drew Rasmussen vs. Matt Manning

Drew Hutchison is a major league veteran who made his MLB debut in 2012. He was drafted out of Lakeland High School in the 2009 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. He played for the Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers. He posted a 4.53 / 4.33 FIP / 5.04 xFIP ERA over 49.2 innings in 2022. He doesn’t get many strikeouts (15.1% strikeout rate) and walks too much (11.3% walking rate). He works with a 92.7 mph four-seam fastball and an 85.8 mph slider as his two primary pitches. He’ll mix in an 86.9 mph shift mostly against left-handed hitters.

Friday’s spot is freed up by the placement of Tarik Skubal on the injured list due to arm fatigue.

Garrett Hill had a rocky start to his major league career. In 26.0 innings, he posted a 5.88/5.66 FIP/5.94 xFIP ERA. He struck out just 9.8 percent of batters while posting an identical walk rate. This is not a great formula for success. The last two seasons he’s posted 30% in the minors, so there could be some strikeouts there. He throws a 91.4 mph four-seam fastball as his main pitch. It works an 82.3 mph slider, 77.1 mph curveball and 82.0 mph shift as its break-in and out-of-speed offerings. The four-seam fastball smashed with a .413 wOBA and the .559 xwOBA suggests he might be in luck.

Matt Manning was the Tigers’ ninth overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. His MLB start got off to a rocky start with a 5.49 ERA / 4.71 FIP / 5.08 xFIP. He only managed a 14.2% strikeout rate and an 8.5% walk rate. Manning throws a 93.0 mph four-seam fastball, 82.7 mph slider, 78.7 mph curveball and 86.5 mph changeover.

Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers offense is the worst in baseball.

The Tigers caused a stir this winter when they signed Javier Baez to a six-year, $140 million deal and traded for Austin Meadows just before the start of the season. They promoted their former number one overall pick Spencer Torkelson on opening day. There was some excitement, but it was short-lived.

The Tigers are hitting .226/.285/.333 as a team and posting a 76 wRC+. The lowest wRC+ in the league led to the fewest points scored. Their 340 points scored are almost 100 less than the Rays. They combined for -1.1 fWAR and are the only team to post a negative total for position players.

Only three players have implemented more than 0.2 fWAR:

  • Jonathan Schoop (1.1 fWAR) leads the way with a 55 wRC+ but exceptional defense.
  • Javier Baez (1.0 fWAR) has an 80 wRC+ with negative shortstop defense (-3 DRS, -6.0 UZR).
  • Eric Haase is the third player to post half a win with a 97 wRC+.

The only player with more than 11 board appearances to break the 100 wRC+ mark is Harold Castro at 103 wRC+. Meanwhile, Austin Meadows has had a tough year dealing with Vertigo. He has only managed 147 board appearances and 99 wRC+ and is officially on the injured list at the moment due to an Achilles tendon. The biggest surprise is that he still has as many circuits this year as me (0).

Spenser Torkelson (68 wRC+) had a very difficult transition to the majors. Miguel Cabrera (88 wRC+) reaches the end of the line as a major league player. It’s a tough time to be a Tigers fan.

Posted In MLB

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