The Tampa Bay Rays clinched a playoff birth for the fourth year in a row in 2022, thanks in large part to an impressive and somewhat unheralded group of pitchers. And, Tampa fans can take solace in the fact that virtually all of the major names that helped push the Rays to the postseason last year are back for 2023. With that said, let’s take a look at the Rays rotation for this upcoming season.
A Look at the Rays Rotation Options
- Shane McClanahan (12-8, 2.54 ERA, 10.5 K/9 in 2022)
- Tyler Glasnow (0-0, 1.35 ERA, 13.5 K/9)
- Drew Rasmussen (11-7, 2.84 ERA, 7.7 K/9)
- Zach Eflin (3.5, 4.04 ERA, 7.7 K/9)
- Jeffrey Springs (9-5, 2.46 ERA, 9.6 K/)
Out of the 99 pitchers in Major League Baseball last season that threw at least 125 innings last season, three of them pitched for Tampa Bay last season. And, each spent significant time in the Rays rotation.
Let’s start off with Shane McClanahan, who emerged as the ace of the Rays rotation in 2022. McClanahan owned the 15th-highest K/9 (10.5) in baseball last season (min. 125 IP), along with a very impressive 2.54 ERA. It’s not easy to hit someone like McClanahan, given his repertoire that includes a plus fastball and a devastating change that can be a real boondoggle for opposing hitters.
Tyler Glasnow did miss most of 2022, as he rehabbed from UCL reconstruction surgery. When he did come back, the righty performed very well. Glasnow struck out 10 over 6.2 innings late in the regular season, before tossing five scoreless innings against the Guardians in the AL Wild Card round. The stats were just fine for Glasnow, and the same can be said for his stuff. Glasnow’s velocity sat where it did pre-Tommy John surgery, a good sign for 2023.
RHP Drew Rasmussen has been excellent in Tampa’s pitching staff since being acquired in 2021. Last season with the Rays, Rasmussen posted a tidy 2.84 ERA, alongside a 1.9 BB/9. The right-hander doesn’t boast the power stuff that McClanahan and Glasnow have, but Rasmussen does have a solid fastball, as well as a cutter and slider that gets chases.
New Rays starter Zach Eflin heads to Tampa after a seven-year run with the Phillies. Eflin did miss a good chunk of 2022, but was a key piece for the Phillies in the team’s run to the World Series — albeit as a reliever. The right-hander, who received the largest free agent deal in Rays history this past winter, is set to join McClanahan, Glasnow, and Rasmussen in the Tampa rotation.
LHP Jeffrey Springs should round out the Tampa starting pitch staff to enter 2023. We documented Springs earlier in the year, when the lefty inked a four-year deal to remain with the Rays. The lefty can beat hitters with a very impressive changeup, or a slider.
Much like in 2022, the Rays are set to run out a very impressive group of starters, all of which are age 30 or younger. If Tampa does need some help aside from these names, youngsters like Taj Bradley or Luis Patiño could factor into the equation at some point. Patiño, in particular, has flashed impressive stuff at times in his brief MLB career. However, the young righty has not been able to break through just yet, as Patiño owns a career ERA of 5.10.