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Giving Away At-Bats

One piece from FanGraphs this season has stayed with me more than any other article on the website. In early September, Kevin Goldstein wrote a piece called The Rays’ Unique Ability To Mitigate Risk.

For most of the piece, Goldstein examined why the Rays pitch effectively even though they use so many relief pitchers. Most of the time, a team that cycles though relief pitchers in bunches is a bad one, like the Baltimore Orioles this year. But the Rays, as they often do, defy common practice.

I actually did not remember that part of Goldstein’s article; I only remembered it when I re-read it before writing this. What stuck with me was a short section at the beginning in which he explained why the Rays score so many runs.

Goldstein’s question was how does a team that has no high-priced free agent slugger, like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, or no home-grown young stud, like Juan Soto or Fernando Tatis Jr., score so many runs? (You will see in a moment why I am ignoring the Rays’ young phenom Wander Franco.) Read the rest of this entry »