This news from Aaron Gleeman at HardBall Talk:
It’s no secret that Tampa Bay believes in young (and cheap) starting pitching, but Bill Chastain of MLB.com notes just how strong that belief is: Tonight the Rays will set an MLB record by starting a pitcher under 30 years old for the 704th consecutive game.
Honestly, I’d expect this streak to continue for a while longer. There’s no way the Rays start a player this season that is 30 years old or older — that is, unless they sign someone currently outside the organization to fill in randomly — so it comes down to if James Shields starts the season with the Rays next season. Shields will be turning 30 this December, so if he starts the season with the Rays, the streak will be over quickly. But if the Rays decide to trade him during the offseason (which is unlikely, but possible), who knows when the streak will end? It could be years.
But anyway, this is merely a fun fact that highlights how youth-focused the Rays are. They put an extreme premium on developing their own starting pitchers, to the point where it’s almost absurd how many solid young pitchers they have developed. I mean, really, this is ridiculous (per Bill Chastain):
In the 702 games since starting their streak, the Rays have used just 14 starters, which is the fewest in the Major Leagues. Each of the 14 was either drafted and developed by the Rays (eight) or acquired by trade (six).