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The Rays Are a Surrealist’s Delight

The Rays emphasize innovation and collaboration, difficult long-held concepts about how groups will have to pitch, hit and follow. That goal is embodied by way of a uniformed analytics trainer, Jonathan Erlichman, who holds a arithmetic level from Princeton, the place he performed membership hockey.

“Since he comes from a nonbaseball background, he’s like just a little child: ‘Why do you guys do this?’” infielder Matt Duffy mentioned. “And we’ll say, ‘Neatly: this, this and this.’ And he’ll say, ‘Neatly, why do you do that?’ The reaction to each and every resolution you give is ‘Why, why, why?’ And that’s the place the discussion begins.”

Now not the entirety has labored. In 2016, the Rays attempted to domesticate knuckleballers, with out a lot good fortune. Their slugger-heavy offense of 2017 produced the sixth-most homers in baseball, but in addition the sixth-fewest runs and second-most strikeouts.

The Rays emphasize energy now, however otherwise: Thru Monday, their hitters had the best possible go out speed within the majors, at 90.1 miles in step with hour, and their pitchers — who concentrate on curveballs and prime fastballs — allowed the bottom, at 86.three. Arduous-contact charges enticed them to industry for Pham from St. Louis remaining July, and to land Yandy Diaz in an low season maintain Cleveland. Pham used to be hitting .248 for the Cardinals, however the Rays confident him he had merely been unfortunate; he hit .343 the remainder of the season.

The Rays additionally upended common pitching roles with their use of the opener. They nonetheless prize elite beginning pitchers, like Snell, Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow. However on different days, they continuously use a reliever to start out the sport, and piece in combination the remaining.

“Numerous groups haven’t discovered how they do it, and I don’t get how they haven’t figured it out,” Snell mentioned. “They are able to stay attempting, and I’m like, ‘They’re no longer doing it proper.’”

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