The Rays emphasize innovation and collaboration, difficult long-held concepts about how groups ought to pitch, hit and follow. That goal is embodied by a uniformed analytics coach, Jonathan Erlichman, who holds a arithmetic diploma from Princeton, the place he performed membership hockey.
“Since he comes from a nonbaseball background, he’s like a little bit child: ‘Why do you guys do this?’” infielder Matt Duffy mentioned. “And we’ll say, ‘Effectively: this, this and this.’ And he’ll say, ‘Effectively, why do you do that?’ The response to each reply you give is ‘Why, why, why?’ And that’s the place the dialogue begins.”
Not all the things has labored. In 2016, the Rays tried to domesticate knuckleballers, with out a lot luck. Their slugger-heavy offense of 2017 produced the sixth-most homers in baseball, but additionally the sixth-fewest runs and second-most strikeouts.
The Rays emphasize energy now, however another way: By Monday, their hitters had the best exit velocity within the majors, at 90.1 miles per hour, and their pitchers — who specialise in curveballs and excessive fastballs — allowed the bottom, at 86.3. Arduous-contact charges enticed them to commerce for Pham from St. Louis final July, and to land Yandy Diaz in an low season cope with Cleveland. Pham was hitting .248 for the Cardinals, however the Rays assured him he had merely been unfortunate; he hit .343 the remainder of the season.
The Rays additionally upended long-established 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 usually use a reliever to start out the sport, and piece collectively the remaining.
“Numerous groups haven’t found out how they do it, and I don’t get how they haven’t figured it out,” Snell mentioned. “They’ll hold making an attempt, and I’m like, ‘They’re not doing it proper.’”