The Rays received enormous fanfare when they made the playoffs four times in six seasons from 2008-13 despite petite payrolls.
|Rays Midseason Top 10|
|1. Willy Adames, SS|
|2. Brent Honeywell, RHP|
|3. Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP|
|4. Jake Bauers, OF/1B|
|5. Jesus Sanchez, OF|
|6. Jacob Faria, RHP|
|7. Jose De Leon, RHP|
|8. Casey Gillaspie, 1B|
|9. Chih-Wei Hu, RHP|
|10. Justin Williams, OF|
There is much less attention being paid to them now, but the Rays have quietly become a playoff contender once again.
As of July 24, the Rays (51-48) were tied with the Royals for the second wild card spot in the American League. They've done it despite major injuries to expected starters Kevin Kiermaier and Matt Duffy and lengthy DL stints for Brad Miller, Colby Rasmus and Matt Andriese.
The Rays’ deep pitching staff has kept them afloat, with Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Alex Cobb holding strong atop the rotation and recent callup Jacob Faria providing support on the back end. Even with Blake Snell battling his control, the Rays starters have the second-lowest ERA in the American League.
The strength of that staff has allowed the Rays to remain in contention and prepare to be buyers at the trade deadline. They already made one deal, acquiring shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from the Marlins for two prospects, and have the pieces to make more moves should they desire.
The Rays have a playoff contender in the big leagues, a horde of promising prospects in the upper levels of the minors, and an intriguing crop in the lower minors led by first-round pick Brendan McKay.
However this year turns out, the Rays appear in excellent shape moving forward as they try and build their second long-term playoff contender.