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2.12.2007

Season Preview: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Continuing our preview of the American League East is a look at the Tampa Bay Devil Rays upcoming season.

Pitching is not exactly the D'Rays strong point and I'm not sure what exactly is. Their stud, Scott Kasmir will lead the starting five again this season, coming off of a year where he went 10-8 with a 3.24 ERA in 24 starts. Not bad. He will be joined by lefty Casey Fossum and righties James Shields, Tim Corcoran and occassional reliever Jason Hammel, who each struggled through losing seasons in 2006. Since there are no new faces in Tampa Bay's rotation, left-hander J.P Howell and righty Brian Stokes will rightfully vie for a starting spot.

Experienced reliever Dan Miceli will join righties Shawn Camp, Ruddy Lugo, Chad Orvella and Seth McClung, who will take a shot at the closer spot, along with lefty Jon Switzer rounding out the pen. Out of these six, you will find not one with an ERA under 3.81, so there is room for improvement this year, which should come with more innings.

Rocco Baldelli, who hit .302 last season, will once again roam center field, accompanied by monster lefty Carl Crawford (.305) in left and Delmon Young in right. Young enjoyed a pretty productive season last year, hitting .317 in 30 games with the D'Rays. Switch-hitting first baseman Greg Norton and designated hitter Jonny Gomes will back things up in the outfield.

When your DH has only 41 career home runs with a .241 average, things could get dicey. Joining Norton (.296) at the opposite corner is five-time Japanese League All-Star Akinori Iwamura at third base, supported by righty B.J. Upton.

Heads-up second baseman Jorge Cantu and will tag team with Ben Zobrist and short stop Brendon Harris, who played only 25 games last season between the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals. Ty Wigginton will back up all positions in the infield.

Dioner Navarro, who caught 54 games for Tampa Bay last season will start behind the plate with Josh Paul, who caught four more games and Shawn Riggans, who has but 10 games of major league experience.

The Devil Rays had a terrible 61-101 record last year and will attempt to avoid another 100-loss season, without having done anything extravagant to their lineup, besides adding an arm from the Japanese League, which was a good move on their part... if they want to stay hip, you know.


Depth Chart

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