2024 Tampa Bay Rays O/U: Why the Rays Will Hit the OVER

Following a 99-63 season that saw them earn second place in the AL East division and make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year before being swept in the Wild Card Series by the eventual World Series champion Texas Rangers, the Tampa Bay Rays enter the 2024 season with their O/U set at 84.5 wins, according to FanDuel.

Given their high win total last season and the lack of changes to the roster heading into the new season, it seems like the O/U set is pretty low, and the Rays should have no problem hitting the over.

Here are some reasons why the Rays will surpass 84.5 wins in the upcoming 2024 season.

2024 Tampa Bay Rays O/U: Why the Rays Will Hit the OVER

Nearly Identical Roster

The Tampa Bay Rays went 99-63 last season. During the offseason, they lost relief pitchers Chris DevenskiJake Diekman, and Robert Stephenson to free agency, as well as Jalen BeeksChristian BethancourtJosh FlemingTristan GrayRaimel Tapia, and Cole Sulser to waivers, and potentially infielder Wander Franco if he isn’t cleared to return before the start of the season due to the ongoing investigation following allegations of Franco committing sexual abuse of a minor in the Dominican Republic.

Besides that, the roster is virtually the same roster that won 99 games last year. We should expect them to keep up their good performances.

Consistent & Underrated

It’s impossible to disregard the Rays’ consistency in every aspect of the game, especially on a small-market team like them. They’ve made the playoffs for five seasons in a row (making it as far as the World Series in 2020, in which they ultimately lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers) and started the 2023 season with 13 consecutive wins, tying the 1982 Atlanta Braves and the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers for the most consecutive wins to start the season in the modern era, yet they’re hardly talked about in the media.

This might stem from the fact that they have one of the lowest attendance rates in MLB, ranking 27th out of 30 teams last season on top of being a small-market team, but this doesn’t change the fact that they’re a sneaky good team, and could be on track to win the very tough AL East division.

Power Hitting

The Rays’ current lineup features six hitters who had 20 or more home runs last season: Randy ArozarenaYandy DíazIsaac Paredes, Josh Lowe, Brandon Lowe, and José Siri. On top of that, their season total of 230 home runs ranks them fourth, and their collective OPS of .776 and 2,452 total bases ranks them second in the American League in each department.

Kevin Cash

It’s hard to describe Rays manager Kevin Cash’s managerial style. Some consider it unorthodox, others think it has the potential to revolutionize the sport. He was one of the reasons why MLB decided to ban defensive shifts ahead of the 2023 season, as he usually got creative with it, doing things like positioning an infielder in the outfield in order to have four outfielders for a single batter.

He was also one of the first managers in the league to use the “opener,” a strategy where the starting pitcher only pitches for the first few innings of a game, forcing the bullpen to work and usually play more than five pitchers in one game. Although it might seem ineffective at first, the Rays’ strong bullpen has allowed this strategy to work so far for the team.

This managerial style challenged traditional views on how to manage a baseball team and raised criticism among baseball purists, who argued that “the essence of the game was being taken away.” However, this style is one of the main reasons why the Rays have had so much success in the past few years. It still hasn’t won them a World Series ring, but they’ve been close. It’s a unique style that differentiates them from other teams and makes them one of the most exciting teams in the league right now.

Should Cash continue to manage the Rays the way he’s been doing it for the past few years, we could be in for a very interesting season from the Tampa Bay squad.

Main Image: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

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