Rays series preview: The worst offense in baseball


The Tampa Bay Rays split a low scoring two game set against the Toronto Blue Jays and will face the Detroit Tigers for a four game series. Let’s hope for more scoring from the Rays in this series.

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

Schedule:

Thursday 7:10 PM: Jeffrey Springs vs Drew Hutchison
Friday 7:10 PM: Corey Kluber vs. TBA
Saturday 6:10 PM: Shane McClanahan vs. Garrett Hill
Sunday 1:40 PM: 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’s played for the Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, and Detroit Tigers. He’s posted a 4.53 ERA/4.33 FIP/5.04 xFIP over 49.2 innings in 2022. He doesn’t get many strikeouts (15.1% strikeout rate) and walks too many (11.3% walk rate). He works with a 92.7 mph four-seam fastball and 85.8 mph slider as his two primary pitches. He will mix in an 86.9 mph changeup mostly against left handed batters.

Friday’s spot is vacated by Tarik Skubal’s placement on the Injured List with arm fatigue.

Garrett Hill has had a rough start to his major league career. In 26.0 innings he posted a 5.88 ERA/5.66 FIP/5.94 xFIP. He has only struck out 9.8% of hitters while posting an identical walk rate. That’s not a great formula for success. Over the last couple of seasons he’s posted a 30% in the minors so there could be some strikeout upside there. He throws a 91.4 mph four-seam fastball as his primary pitch. He works an 82.3 mph slider, 77.1 mph curveball, and 82.0 mph changeup as his breaking and offspeed offerings. The four-seam fastball has crushed with a .413 wOBA and the .559 xwOBA suggests he could be lucky.

Matt Manning was the ninth overall pick by the Tigers in the 2016 MLB draft. His MLB start has gotten 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 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 changeup.

Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers offense is the worst in baseball.

The Tigers made a big splash this winter signing Javier Baez to a six-year $140MM contract 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 that was short lived.

The Tigers are hitting .226/.285/.333 as a team and putting up a 76 wRC+. The lowest wRC+ in the league has led to the fewest runs scored. Their 340 runs scored are nearly 100 fewer than the Rays. They have combined for -1.1 fWAR and are the only team to post a negative total for position players.

Only three players have put up 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 defense at shortstop (-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 plate appearances to get over the 100 wRC+ mark is Harold Castro at 103 wRC+. Meanwhile, Austin Meadows has had a tough year dealing with vertigo. He’s only managed 147 plate appearances and a 99 wRC+ and is officially on the injured list right now due to a strained Achilles. The biggest surprise is he still has as many homers this year as I do (0).

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

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