HomeTeamsRays2024 Tampa Bay Rays: Pitching Preview

2024 Tampa Bay Rays: Pitching Preview

The sweetest day of the year has arrived. No, not St Valentine’s Day! The day pitchers and catchers report. Take those flowers and candies and replace them with Florida sunshine.

            As of today, the Rays have a right-handed dominated rotation. The absence of injured lefties Shane McClanahan and Jeffrey Springs limits Kevin Cash’s ability to manage against opposing lineups. The anticipation encircling this season’s pitching staff is at an extraordinary level. Time to analyze these pitchers and prepare for what is about to come this season.


RHP Zach Eflin – This will be Eflin’s second season with the Rays and projected Opening Day starter. Due to injuries, Eflin brings a veteran-like force to the rotation with his eight seasons in the Bigs. Last season he posted a 16-8 record with an impressive 1.024 WHIP. He managed to strike out more than a batter per inning. The key to Eflin’s success is keeping his curveball breaking to induce weak contact and ensuring his chronic knee issues to a minimum. If that is done, he is an All-star.

RHP Aaron Civale – This six-pitch pitcher can be a highly effective starter if managed properly. He keeps the ball down and low in the strike zone. His walk, strikeout, chase/swinging strike rates have improved in the last few years. Last season, he split his time with the Guardians and Rays. Civale’s best outing last season was a wasted 12-strikeout game against division rival Red Sox where he received a no decision and the Rays lost 7-3.

RHP Zack Littell – This 1-year contact pitcher is patching up rotation voids created by injuries. Littell has experience as a starter and a reliever.

RHP Ryan Pepiot – Pepiot was a major part of the Glasnow trade with the Dodgers. His 78 innings pitched tells his story of inexperience; however, scouts are applauding his premier pitch which is a change-up. Hopefully, it will throw opposing batters’ timing off.

RHP Taj Bradley – The young phenom will be only 23 years old on Opening Day. Bradley advance through the minor leagues at a fast pace. He used his fastball and collected 129 Ks in 104 innings in his first season with the Rays. A comparison to 2008 David Price can be made.

The Rays have one the top bullpens in the league. Their unique mixture of seasoned players and with new blood is a formula for continuing success.


RHP Pete Fairbanks – MLB Network ranked Fairbanks the #3 reliever in the game. He has been dominating on the mound, but injuries have limited him to 24 and 46 innings in the last two years.

RHP Phil Maton – The projected closer was brought on board for his postseason experience. In the last three postseasons, Matson pitched 21.2 innings and struck out 22 batters. Impressive!

LHP Colin Poche – Most likely to be used as a left-handed specialist for lefty-on-lefty match ups.

RHP Shawn Armstong – A strong piece of the bullpen. In the three seasons with the Rays, he can strikeout more than a batter per inning.

LHP Garrett Cleavinger – Another useful lefty specialist with high strikeout numbers and a low WHIP number.

RHP Kevin Kelly – A young pitcher with solid minor league numbers. Optimistically, they will carry over to the hard-hitting American League East.

RHP Chris Devenski – This well-traveled reliever has had success on every team he has been on. He provides depth to the bullpen as an economical one-year contract rental.

LHP Jacob Lopez – Lopez dominated the minors. In 249 innings, he surrendered 182 hits and 70 runs. His 319 strikeouts and 1.096 WHIP is extraordinary at any level.

RHP Jason Adam – 2024 should be his best season. He has made mechanical changes in his delivery, and it has made his fastball faster and increased spin rate.

Like any other team, the injury bug bites. Here are updates.

Injuries (As of February 14)

RHP Shane Baz – (Tommy John surgery) Baz is projected to miss the first half of 2024.

RHP Drew Rasmussen – (Right flexor strain) Rasmussen could join the team in late 2024.

LHP Shane McClanahan – (Second Tommy John surgery) Return late 2024/2025.

LHP Jeffrey Springs – (Tommy John surgery) Assuming rehab continues without setbacks, Springs could return to the rotation in late July/August.


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