Three Tampa Bay Rays Players Looking for Bounce Back Years in 2020
The 2020 season has plenty of optimism building for the Tampa Bay Rays. They enter spring training with a full bill of health and some fresh faces that will look to add some real firepower. They are a team who has had back to back 90+ win seasons. While everyone will look to improve off of their 2019 numbers, these three players are really looking towards a clean slate in 2020.
Mike Zunino returns to the Rays for his second season. He will be the opening day catcher and likely leaned on to catch 100+ games in 2020. If he is to do that, he will need to see a large improvement on the offensive side.
Last year he was by far the biggest offensive disappointment for the Rays. He came in as a very good defensive catcher who would hit for a low average but would provide 15+ home runs. In 2019 he saw his number plummet to a career-low average of .165 and only nine homers. He struck out at an eye-opening 37% clip.
On the bright side, Zunino was a stud handling the pitching staff and controlling the running game. With that being said, the Rays would love to see his batting average approach .250 and leave the yard 20 times. His power is certainly there because when he hits em, they go a long way!
Joey Wendle only played in 75 games last year due to two freak injuries. He injured his hamstring in the opening week catching an errant throw at second base and later broke his wrist when he was hit by a fastball. With lack of playing time and inconsistent at-bats, Wendle saw his batting average settle at .231. That’s 70 points lower than his 2018 campaign.
Wendle will be the super-utility for the Rays this year seeing playing time all around the infield. He will see starts at third base against right-handed hitters and spell Willy Adames and Brandon Lowe up the middle when they need a day off. Expect Wendle to see his numbers more similar to his 2018 numbers than his 2019 ones.
2019, unfortunately, did not go as planned. He saw his numbers blow up. His batting average against rose from .183 to .254. His whip was also just shy of two which is not ideal. He struggled to find the strike zone and had no confidence with the ball in his hands late in the game. Alvarado was also dealing with family issues during the Venezuela situation last summer. This lead to a longer than expected absence from the team. An oblique injury also caused him to miss some time.
There are many players who would love to get better in 2020. These three players are a big area where the Tampa Bay Rays can improve. If they do that, look for the Rays to once again be a force to reckon with in the American League.