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Baseball Prospectus sees the Tampa Bay Rays improving to second

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The Tampa Bay Rays may be facing a turnaround year.

At least, that’s what the people at Baseball Prospectus believe.

According the PECOTA rankings, the Rays should improve to be the second-ranked team in the AL East. They should tie the Texas Rangers for the wild-card spot with 84 wins. It was the kind of turnaround prediction that is sure to make manager Kevin Cash happy.

That might sound a bit lofty when you compare it to last year’s 68-win season, but the website sees the Rays as giving up the second-fewest runs (690) in the division. Although it also thinks the Rays will have the second-worst batting average (.244) in the league, one point ahead of Oakland, it thinks it will finish three games behind Boston in the division.

It also has Toronto three games back, the Yankees four games back and Baltimore 10 games back.

Does that seem lofty to you? Well, Bleacher Report still has the Rays in fifth, going 72-90 on the season. USA Today also has the Rays in the basement, going 75-87 on the season.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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