Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 6/7/13
Despite being in fourth place at the moment, the Rays are obviously in the playoff mix, only four games back of the AL East leading Red Sox. Indeed, Tampa Bay has been in the mix pretty much every season since 2008. Their ability to prevent runs has been what has received the most attention the last few seasons, as they seemingly add an above-average starter from the minors every year, but their hitting has not been as bad as the perception. True, the only recognizable offensive star since the departure of Carl Crawford has been Evan Longoria, but the Rays have still managed to be in the top half of the American League in wRC+ since then. This season, the Rays have a collective 107 wRC+, their best since 2009. Having Longoria healthy and hitting has been a big plus, of course, but as in past seasons, it is surprising performances from apparent stopgaps such as the previously-discussed James Loney — who currently leads the team with a 151 wRC+ — which have provided the needed boosts. Loney’s
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