Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Marlins and Rays Continued

We've talked a lot about the Marlins and Rays this week. Though we've all been civil, the national media has asked the question: Which team is more for real?

Jayson Stark actually led a debate on this very issue, concluding that the Rays were better suited for long-term success. Here's three good excerpts:

Look out: This team finally has some pitching to go with all its up-and-coming position-player talent. The Rays just threw back-to-back shutouts against the Angels. Their rotation has almost as many quality starts (20) as the Red Sox (21). And they're second in the league in bullpen ERA.

Nobody wants to face this lineup. The Marlins are now hitting more home runs per game than the Phillies (and everyone else, for that matter). Just the double-play combination alone -- Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla -- has combined for as many home runs (19) as the Royals' entire team. And no team in baseball has scored in double figures more times than the Marlins (six), even though they play in the worst hitters' park in the Eastern time zone.

Much as I admire the Marlins' thump and hustle, this is still a team winning with a very shaky formula. Florida's rotation just nudged its ERA under 5.00. The Marlins have committed the most errors in the league (33). And they had been outscored for the season by their opponents until they bludgeoned the Nationals, 23-7, over the weekend. So I'll take Tampa Bay -- a team with superior pitching, an offense that has outscored the Yankees and has had the look of a team Team On The Rise since the first day of spring training.


Sam (Chicago): Jayson, if you had to choose between Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez, who would you build your team around?

Jayson Stark: Fun question. I love watching Carl Crawford, but Hanley Ramirez is as multi-talented as any player in the whole sport. He'd be my pick. Feel free to try to talk me out of it.

And Finally:

Steven Krajnyk (TAMPA BAY, FL): Could Dan Uggla be the most underrated player in the MLB?

Jayson Stark: He's definitely on my all-underrated team. Does ANYBODY know he had 83 extra-base hits last year? And he's on the same kind of pace this year. Check your list of middle infielders who have had back-to-back 80-xbh seasons. You've heard of them! The only other second baseman who has ever done that? How about Rogers Hornsby!

It's great to see Uggla finally get his due. I encourage you all to read the whole thing if you have the time.

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