3 Bold Predictions For The 2015 Tampa Bay Rays

The 2014 Tampa Bay Rays caught on fire in July after a dreadful start to the season, but the team couldn't sustain the success for long enough to make a legitimate run at a playoff berth.

Now, after a 77-win season in 2014, the 2015 Rays are heading into their first Opening Day without either David Price (Detroit) or Ben Zobrist (Oakland) on the roster since the start of the 2006 campaign. What will that mean for this team? Who will step up? Here's our 3 Bold Predictions For The 2015 Tampa Bay Rays.

1. Tampa Bay will lead the AL in on-base percentage

There's not a whole lot of pure pop in the Tampa Bay Rays' retooled starting lineup, but additions such as catcher John Jaso and right fielder Steven Souza bring an absolute knack for finding a way on base. Expect Tampa's 2-6 hitters to thrive by working deep into counts and getting into opposing bullpens, making up for a relative power shortage with some good, old-fashioned station-to-station baseball.

2. Alex Cobb will post a lower ERA than David Price...again

The 27-year-old righty has posted a better ERA (2.76 & 2.87) and ERA+ (134 & 149) than the recently-dealt David Price over the past two seasons, and he'll make it three in a row come 2015. Cobb pitches to contact a bit more than Price and misses less bats via the strikeout, but he'll once again baffle hitters into weak at-bats en route to a 2.81 ERA in 180-185 innings pitched.

3. Tampa Bay will contend in the wide-open AL East

The American League is home to several flawed teams that could put together a major run if the cards hit the table just right. Tampa Bay's offense is still a question mark after a major facelift this offseason, but we see enough career years and good luck coming the Rays' way to keep them in the American League East hunt all season long. Don't be surprised if the Rays bounce back in a massive way with a return to the playoff stage in 2015.

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