Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Reds have had 8 straight losing seasons.

Is this bizarro world? Sheesh.

UPDATE: It was even sweeter because the Rays beat the Red Sox. As I read somewhere, Tampa Bay’s roster will be Boston’s roster in 2010, when they are overpriced.

33 Responses

  1. Mark in CC

    I’m usually a National League fan but this year GO RAYS.

    They are a perfect example of a team that wins with fundamental baseball players and good (not great) pitching. It shows that it isn’t about fantasy stats, it is about baseball players and that is pretty refreshing for an old school baseball fan.

  2. Mr. Redlegs

    Somebody find the half a dozen drunken fools who took the Vegas odds on the Rays going to the World Series at the beginning of the year and see if they have any economic advice. Unreal.

  3. bruble

    This Rays team also proves you don’t have to construct a team like everyone else. They have no 30 HR guys, no 100 RBI guys, but rather they have a TEAM that plays baseball the way old fashion way. They also have a great manager that can rally the troops and get them to believe in what they do. I love watching them play ball, great defense, good pitching, and timely hitting with lots of baserunners on the move.

  4. brublejr

    This Rays team also proves you don’t have to construct a team like everyone else. They have no 30 HR guys, no 100 RBI guys, but rather they have a TEAM that plays baseball the way old fashion way. They also have a great manager that can rally the troops and get them to believe in what they do. I love watching them play ball, great defense, good pitching, and timely hitting with lots of baserunners on the move.

  5. Shawn

    “As I read somewhere, Tampa Bay’s roster will be Boston’s roster in 2010, when they are overpriced.”
    Nah, you’re thinking Yankees.

  6. Shawn

    “They have no 30 HR guys, no 100 RBI guys,”
    Sorry, no. Carlos Pena had 31 HR and 102 RBI, after reaching 46 and 121 last year. Evan Longoria also would have reached the 30-100 level had he not missed significant time with an injury.

    This is not a magical “team” victory by the Rays with no statistical evidence. This was predicted, at least in part, by the Baseball Prospectus PECOTA system during the spring, and is due to a bunch of young players coming together at the same time.

  7. Kurt Frost

    PECOTA had the Rays finishing third.

  8. Mark in CC

    It will be interesting to see what happens to them next year. The Bill James theory is that a team that far exceeds the previous years performance usually finishes about half way between the two years the following year.

    It really ended up being the case a few years ago with the Tigers.

  9. doug

    Kurt,
    Pecota had them finishing third, but didn’t it have them with 88 wins and finishing third? Not exactly a 3rd place record.

  10. GregD

    The Rays had the 2nd best ERA in the AL (behind Toronto) and the 3rd best ERA in MLB (only the Dodgers were better from the NL.) Average against, on-base against both top 2 or 3.

    Their rotation? Comparing to what Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo did in 2007, the Rays have 3 starters with numbers slightly better than Harang…their 4th and 5th at worst Arroyo’s equal. These 5 guys started all but 9 games. 3 Harangs and 2 Arroyos is a great rotation.

    Bullpen? Balfour, Howell, Wheeler, (Percival in the regular season) plus in the playoffs their 23-yr-old stud starting prospect you nailed down the final 4 outs last night.

  11. Phill

    88 wins would have been third place in the AL East this year.

  12. GregD

    I think youth will be the new “steriod”. Teams with the overpriced vets, even those employing sabremetric analysis, will have difficulty weeding out the steriod inflated stats. Young talent, and more specifically young talented teams, will win out against teams built on overpriced (and perhaps previously illegally inflated stats.) I think that is what is happening to the Yankees right now.

    The Tigers have thrown a lot of money at players who are now into their 30’s.

    What’s the Rays turnover look like next year? I would expect very little, plus David Price into the rotation potentially for a full year.

  13. The Redhead

    This could, I said could, be the Reds next year. I’m loving it. We have a great young core, like the Rays, and I like our pitching staff.
    Work a little magic, Jocketty, and maybe next year, it’s our turn.

    One more thing…Cubs still do, and always will…SUCK!!!!!

  14. Dan

    Players in their 30’s are bound to get worse, just due to age. Steroids might’ve played a small role in boosting past performance for some guys, but overall old teams just get worse, for natural reasons.

    I’m 37 and I’m not the softball player I used to be… and it’s not b/c I used to be on the juice! At least, not that you’ll ever get me to admit… 😉

  15. Dan

    By the way, this “old-fashioned” Rays team set an LCS record with 16 HR’s in the series.

    I’m not sure if that’s considered fantasy stats or not, but it sure does help win baseball games.

    (The nice thing is, unlike the 2008 Reds, the 2008 Rays have a lot more to back up their HR power… good starting pitching and good defense especially.)

  16. Mr. Redlegs

    Imagine This:

    Krivsky, with his Minnesota roots, acquired Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Morlan from the Twins last offseason.

    Where would the Reds be today?

    While the six players involved (Young, Harris and Pridie going to the Twins from Rays) were all youngsters or beneath-the-radar types, the fact is this deal made an enormous impact on Tampa Bay going to the World Series.

    As Uncle Walt looks to improve the Reds for 2009 and beyond, this is the kind of deal he needs to find and fans should be flushing out instead of poring over high-salaries vets, washed-up free agents and fantasy league favorites.

  17. Dan

    I agree, Mr. Redlegs!! Well said.

    “Proven” = probably overpaid (or at least over-valued) by now.

    I want guys BEFORE they’re proven. Get ’em while they’re young, cheap, and still getting better.

  18. Deaner

    This seems odd to say considering their performance before this season, but the Rays have become a model organization (like the Twins) for how to win in a small-market. The Rays have done everything right: good draft picks, organizational developement, smart trades, and international scouting.

    The Reds can learn a few things from this Tampa Bay club. They need to start by stressing the fundamentals.

  19. Dan

    Well… yes, Tampa has put together a great young team and the Reds would do well to do likewise… but let’s not forget that it doesn’t hurt to have one of the top 3 picks in the whole draft year after year after year…

    Basically, the Rays are so good now exactly because they were SO bad for the last 10 years (and because, given very high draft picks, they’ve done well with them, at least the past few years).

    I’m not sure I want the Reds to tank an entire decade just to have that! 😉

  20. Y-City Jim

    Basically, the Rays are so good now exactly because they were SO bad for the last 10 years (and because, given very high draft picks, they’ve done well with them, at least the past few years).

    Don’t we have to tan two more seasons to reach that ten years of futility? Please don’t tell me that we haven’t sucked enough.

  21. Mr. Redlegs

    The Reds haven’t sucked enough. The Rays were suckier than sucks to land in the top three of drafting almost every year. Don’t let one great season in 10 cloud reality. This is a franchise targeted for extraction 3-4 years ago.

    And Tampa Bay is NOT a small market. The payroll may be low, but it’s the No. 13 market–even ahead of Miami.

    In fact here’s the NL Central markets:

    3. Cubs
    10. Astros
    21. Cardinals
    23. Pirates
    34. Reds
    35. Brewers

  22. Missy

    Go Rays! I left the St. Pete/Tampa area on October 19th after having been there for 10 days. They are so excited about their team. Everyone, everywhere supports them! Carlos Pena lives at the condos where we stay every year and he is like a God to them. I only wish Cincinnati and surrounding communities had that type of excitement past opening day! I see it in Dayton for the Dragons every day and wish it were extended in Cincy! Again, Go Rays!

  23. Kurt Frost

    Kurt,
    Pecota had them finishing third, but didn’t it have them with 88 wins and finishing third? Not exactly a 3rd place record.

    PECOTA was only off by 9 wins. I could probably guess better than that.

  24. Dan

    Kurt, Who or what predicted that Tampa would have more than 88 wins before this season? Did you? I doubt it.

    PECOTA was the only thing I saw before the season that had Tampa over .500. After 10 straight losing seasons (BAD losing seasons — averaging something like 65 wins a year), I am very impressed with that prediction.

  25. GregD

    1 – The Reds don’t get Matt Garza from the Twins without giving up Jay Bruce

    2 – The deal Krivsky really missed out on was Carlos Quentin. A RH OF bat undervalued by the D-Backs, went to the White Sox for very little.

    3 – IF they’re considering moving Votto to LF, then there are a few guys out there at 1st base with unrealized potential like Dan Johnson or Ryan Shealy who would cost next to nothing.

    4 – Leo Mazzone is a free agent. I know they already renewed the coaching staff for 2009, but I think Mazzone would be a big upgrade for the Reds coaching staff.

    5 – What’s up with all the slams against statistical/data analysis as “fantasy stats”. Fact is that most teams are employing data analysis as a part of their evaluation and decision making process. The other fact is that “fantasy stats” are AVG, HR, RBI, SB, which sabremetricians say are the stats that do not correlate well with scoring runs and winning games.

    6 – “Stat geek” or not, Baseball Prospectus had a preseason projection that the Rays would finish 14 games above .500. Did anyone else, regardless of method, pick the Rays to finish at or above .500?

  26. Kurt Frost

    6 – “Stat geek” or not, Baseball Prospectus had a preseason projection that the Rays would finish 14 games above .500. Did anyone else, regardless of method, pick the Rays to finish at or above .500?

    Hell, I don’t know, and I really don’t care to look. But looking at PECOTA, it has the Angels winning 87, the Indians winning 92, the Twins winning 73 and finishing last, the White Sox winning 78 and finishing in third. It’s wrong more than it’s right.

  27. preach

    I think all of your points are spot on Greg. I really like Shealy. He never really got the opportunity in Colorado sitting behind Helton, but the Rockies thought enough of his bat to use him as the DH during interleague play. Not sure how his glove is, however, and part of the Rays success has been upgrading defense. Interesting enough is that Shealy was traded to KC for Affledt. The only issue I have with our comment 5 is that being an old school guy, I still think AVG, HR, RBI, and SB are important. The reason that they can be unpredictable indicators is because so many times they are dependant on who surrounds you in the lineup. I still think they are valuable for setting lineups and as a point of comparison for individual players.

  28. Shawn

    Well, Kurt, you make your predictions for 2009 of how many wins each team will have, and we will compare you to PECOTA at the end of the season. Until then, I’m not that impressed.

  29. mhopp

    I predict the Reds will be 80-82. I was right on at 74-88 for this year…but of course I said that in June so that isn’t quite fair. No matter, they’ll be better next year.