Houston Astros

MLB playoffs 2020: Scouting that didn't stop at the stats fuels Tampa Bay Rays' success

The Tampa Bay Rays are among the smallest of small-market clubs, yet they are on the verge of earning just their second trip to the World Series and this is a formula they have long embraced, mostly because they can't cover many flaws with a checkbook.

Yes, analytics play a significant role in the Rays' success, something you see by their high number of defensive shifts around the diamond and their popularizing the frequent use of the opener on the pitching mound.

"I think what makes us good is the mentality, how easy it is to come here and play," said Tyler Glasnow , acquired from Pittsburgh along with 2019 All-Star Austin Meadows in exchange for Chris Archer during the 2018 season.

One area that is an obvious strength is something legendary Royals and Braves general manager John Schuerholz told me years ago, "You must scout your own system better than anyone else, recognize what you have before someone else sees something you may not."

Look no further than some current big-time contributors who were traded for, players like Randy Arozarena (Cardinals), Glasnow and Meadows (Pirates), Ji-Man Choi (Brewers), Manuel Margot (Padres), Willy Adames (Tigers), Mike Zunino (Mariners), Nick Anderson (Marlins) and Peter Fairbanks (Rangers).

Even someone like new cult hero Mike Brosseau , whose home run in the bottom of the eighth off Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman in Game 5 of the ALDS propelled the Rays past their heated rivals.

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