Tampa Bay Rays
Playoff Odds on 3/21: 29.9%
Playoff Odds on 5/9: 73.4%
The Red Sox and Yankees were initially expected to duke it out for the AL East crown, and they each entered 2019 with payrolls north of $200 million. Meanwhile, the Rays are currently in first place despite opening the year with a payroll south of $70 million.
Baseball, man. Gotta love it.
Tampa Bay has been solid offensively, but it’s the starting rotation that’s truly hit another level. Blake Snell has followed up his Cy Young performance with another terrific start, while Charlie Morton brought his success from Houston over to the Sunshine State, and Tyler Glasnow has opened some eyes himself.
One of the biggest changes in Glasnow’s game has been a drop in walks allowed. He allowed free passes at a 14.4% clip in ’17 and 11.3% in ’18, but that number is currently down at 4.4%. He’s also been leaning on his curveball quite a bit — after tossing it at a career-low 16.4% clip in ’18, it’s back up to 30.6% this season. Opposing hitters have posted a 50.7% strikeout rate and 51 wRC+ against that offering.
The AL East was already going to be a compelling race to watch, and if the Red Sox do get themselves in gear, it’s a very real possibility that Boston, New York, and Tampa Bay could reach October this time around.
About Matt Musico
Matt Musico currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book and created an online class about how to get started as a sports blogger. Check those out and more helpful tips on sports blogging at his website.