The Tampa Bay Rays were established in 1998 as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They changed their name in 2008 and were immediately rewarded with their first AL East division title and went all the way to the World Series before losing to the Phillies in 5 games. The Rays would claim another division title in 2010, along with wildcard spots in 2011 and 2013 before the core of the team that was so successful had to be broken up.
Tampa’s success despite extremely modest financial resources has been thanks to some outstanding innovation and optimization of talent development and scouting along with things like defensive shifts and even experimenting with “Openers” recently. They have been a team dedicated to clawing out value wherever they can to try and compete with the free-spending juggernauts in their division.
That dedication to finding the extra 2% nearly took them to a World Series win. Can you take up the reins and finally guide them to the ultimate victory?
*All stats correct at time of writing
MLB The Show 19 doesn’t give team a single OVR rating like other sports games, instead they get a ranking from 1st to 30th, and then sub-rankings for different aspects of the game. This is useful to see how one team measures up to the rest of the Majors but it can be tough to gauge the gap between teams with this method.
The Tampa Bay Rays come into Franchise Mode as the 15th ranked team, right in the middle of the league. Their strongest aspect is their speed which comes in 4th in the league. The Rays rank 13th in pitching an 16th in contact, meanwhile their defense is slightly below average at 18th and their power is their weakest aspect, ranked 23rd.
Perhaps the Rays biggest weakness is their financial status. With a team budget of $88.5 million they are working with less than half the budget of divisional rivals Boston and New York. That means you have to be extremely selective with your investments and use the farm system to develop cheap and controlled players. Who are the guys that you can build around right now?
Jose Alvarado, Closing Pitcher (88 OVR)
Contract: 1 year/$575k + 1 year renew + 3 years arbitration
Pitches: 2-Seam Fastball, Curveball, 4-Seam Fastball, Slider
Best Stats: Break (99), Velocity (99), HR/9 (92), H/9 (92), K/9 (84), Clutch (75), Control (64)
Jose Alvarado was signed as an international free agent in 2012 and got his MLB debut in 2017, pitching 29.2 innings in 35 games with 3.64 ERA, 1.112 WHIP and 8.8 K/9. In 2018 he improved markedly, pitching 64 innings over 70 appearances with a 2.39 ERA, 8 saves, a 1.109 WHIP and a stellar 11.3 K/9.
In The Show 19 Alvarado has an elite velocity (99) and break (99) combo which makes all 4 of his pitches deadly. His control (64) is ok but the big issue is that he isn’t elite in the clutch (75) but should be good enough to save a lot of games.
Blake Snell, Starting Pitcher (87 OVR)
Contract: 1 year/$575k + 3 years arbitration
Pitches: 4-Seam Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Slider
Best Stats: Break (99), Clutch (90), H/9 (86), K/9 (84), Stamina (84), Velocity (82), HR/9 (70)
Blake Snell was a first-round pick for the Rays in the 2011 draft and got his MLB debut in 2016, making 19 starts with a 3.54 ERA and a 9.9 K/9. He had a solid 2017 but then broke out in a big way in 2018, winning 21 games with a ridiculous 1.89 ERA over 31 games, and 221 strikeouts as he made his first All-Star appearance and won the AL Cy Young.
In The Show 19 Snell has elite break (99) and is very good in the clutch (90). He has good stamina (84) and can avoid hits (86) while picking up strikeouts at a good rate (84). Snell’s velocity is solid and his 4-pitch repertoire includes two terrific breaking balls.
Tommy Pham, Left Field (87 OVR)
Contract: 1 year/$4.1 million + 2 years arbitration
Secondary Position: CF, RF
Hitter Tendency: Opposite
Best Stats: Discipline (90), Durability (84), Power vs L (81), Reaction (76), Contact vs R (76), Speed (73), Contact vs L (72)
Tommy Pham was a 16th-round pick for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006. He got a cup of coffee in 2014 but made a proper debut in 2015 with 52 games, hitting .268 with 5 homers and solid defense. In 2017 Pham broke out with 23 homers and a .306 average. He was traded to Tampa Bay during the 2018 season, in which he put together a 21-homer, .275 average season.
In The Show 19 Pham has good contact skill (76/72) and the plate discipline (90) to draw plenty of walks. He has good durability (84) to play regularly and the speed (73) to reach balls in the field and swipe some bases when he gets on. Pham also has excellent power against lefties (81) and he’s solid in the clutch (73).
Tampa Bay Rays MLB Roster
There can be some small fluctuations in OVR in The Show 19 from save to save, however the underlying stats are always consistent. We’ll start our look at the Rays MLB roster with the position players and then look at the starting rotation and bullpen.
|Player||OVR||Age||Position||Bat Hand||Best Contact||Best Power||Fielding||Speed|
|Tommy Pham||87||31||LF||R||76 (R)||81 (L)||68||73|
|Mike Zunino||87||28||C||R||50 (R)||83 (L)||91||32|
|Kevin Kiermaier||83||28||CF||L||61 (R)||57 (R)||99||84|
|Avisail Garcia||80||27||RF||R||90 (L)||63 (R)||62||79|
|Joey Wendle||79||28||2B||L||82 (L)||41 (R)||78||69|
|Daniel Robertson||74||25||2B||R||67 (R)||59 (L)||73||59|
|Matt Duffy||72||28||3B||R||75 (R)||36 (L)||62||59|
|Willy Adames||72||23||SS||R||67 (R)||54 (R)||59||70|
|Brandon Lowe||68||24||2B||L||47 (R)||50 (L)||68||56|
|Andrew Velazquez||68||24||SS||S||53 (L)||46 (L)||72||48|
|Guillermo Heredia||66||28||CF||R||68 (L)||43 (L)||57||70|
|Ji-Man Choi||66||27||1B||L||52 (R)||70 (R)||31||29|
|Michael Perez||64||26||C||L||54 (R)||31 (R)||67||15|
The Tampa Bay Rays MLB roster is made up of 13 position players and 12 pitchers. That is made up of your 9-man lineup with a 4-man bench along with a 5-man rotation and 7-man bullpen including the closer.
The Rays offense is nothing special. The leading lights in the lineup are Tommy Pham (power L 81, contact R 76), Mike Zunino (power L 83, power R 78), and Avisail Garcia (contact L 90, clutch 81). Supporting them is Joey Wendle (contact L 82, contact R 80) and Matt Duffy (contact R 75, contact L 73), but the rest of the position players will struggle to produce consistently. Ji-Man Choi (power R 70, power L 57) and Kevin Kiermaier (contact R 61, power R 57) especially will be difficult to get production from.
In the field though, the Rays are strong. Kiermaier (fielding 99) is a gold-glove caliber player and Zunino (fielding 91) is terrific behind the plate. Robertson (fielding 73) is a solid player and with Joey Wendle (fielding 78) can create a nice middle infield partnership.
The starting rotation has a quality 1-2 punch in Blake Snell (break 99, clutch 90) and Charlie Morton (break 99, velocity 88). Snell is one of the most exciting young pitchers in baseball and is the reigning AL Cy Young winner. behind those two things aren’t quite as rosy. The 3-5 spots are filled with Yonny Chirinos (break 86, velocity 86), Ryan Yarbrough (break 88, stamina 77), and Jake Faria (break 78, stamina 69). They are all 27 or younger and will have frustrating inconsistencies that come with most young players.
The Rays bullpen is perhaps the best part of the team. Jose Alvarado (break 99, velocity 99) is an excellent closer and both Diego Castillo (break 99, velocity 99) and Chaz Roe (break 99, clutch 76) are good setup men while Ryne Stanek (break 99, velocity 96), Oliver Drake (velocity 71, control 64), and Emilio Pagan (break 80, clutch 76) can bridge over to them if need be while Tyler Glasnow (break 94, velocity 91) is a very effective long man.
MLB The Show 19 has four lineups for you to set. These are against right-handed starters with and without the DH and against left-handed starters with and without the DH. As the Ray are in the American League you will be using the lineups with the DH for most of your games.
Against righties with the DH the preset lineup puts 2B Joey Wendle at the top of the order with 3B Matt Duffy and LF Tommy Pham also getting 1st inning at-bats. C Mike Zunino is at #4 followed by RF Avisail Garcia, DH Daniel Robertson, SS Willy Adames, 1B Ji-Man Choi, and CF Kevin Kiermaier. Against lefties Kiermaier moves up to #7 with Adames and Choi dropping down.
This is a solid enough lineup to use, but we can do better than that.
Against righties the only change we have made is to put Daniel Robertson at SS without the DH as his bat is more effective than Willy Adames’. Against lefties there have been bigger changes.
Avisail Garcia and his 90 contact vs L has been promoted to #1 against lefties, with Joey Wendle moving to #2. Pham and Zunino say put and Matt Duffy is at #5, while Robertson, Kiermaier, Adames, and Choi round out the lineup.
The farm system in MLB The Show 19 can be inconsistent. The fluctuations in OVR and potential can turn an exciting prospect into a disappointing one and there is a lack of some real life prospects meaning you can’t just pull up a prospects list and focus on promoting those players. However, there are still some intriguing prospects in every farm system. Who are the key ones in Tampa Bays farm system?
Marco Lozano, Closing Pitcher (70 OVR)
Pitches: 4-Seam Fastball, 2-Seam Fastball, Curveball, Slider
Best Stats: Break (78), Velocity (78), Arm Strength (75), Arm Accuracy (73), K/9 (71), H/9 (64)
Marco Lozano is just 19 but he is close to being MLB-ready. With good velocity (78) and break (78) be can create outs, the only problem is his woeful control (34) along with issues in the clutch (50). He is so young that he has plenty of time to improve his weaknesses and solidify his strengths. With a year or two in the Minors he could easily become an extremely deadly bullpen arm for the Rays.
Jose Ramirez, Third Base (69 OVR)
Secondary Position: LF
Hitter Tendency: Pull Hitter
Best Stats: Contact vs L (79), Contact vs R (72), Vision (68), Speed (67), Durability (64), Clutch (62), Stealing (60)
Offense is at a premium for the Rays in The Show 19, but one player they might be able to find some more is from Jose Ramirez. The third baseman has very nice contact skill (72/79) and good speed (67) to get around the field and the bases. He doesn’t have a lot of power (51/56) but he’s got solid vision (68) and discipline (55) for a young hitter.
Roberto Chavez, Starting Pitcher (67 OVR)
Pitches: 4-Seam Fastball, Splitter, 2-Seam Fastball, Changeup
Best Stats: Break (77), Velocity (68), Clutch (67), Stamina (64), Control (64), HR/9 (61)
A more MLB-ready prospect is starting pitcher Roberto Chavez. The 24-year-old has good break (77) and solid velocity (68) as well as impressive control (64) for a minor leaguer. His stamina (64) isn’t amazing but it’s enough to get by with. If you needed another starter mid-season you could use Chavez at the least to fill in as the long-man in the bullpen, and given another season of maturing in the Minors he could be a legitimate option for the starting rotation.
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