MORE: Opening Day schedule for all 30 MLB teamsTampa Bay won a surprising 90 games in 2018, and if not for absurdly good seasons from New York and Boston in their own division and Oakland in the West, the Rays would have easily reached the postseason for their first trip since 2013. They ran with a roster largely bereft of marquee talent and did strange things like begin a game with a relief pitcher who threw only one inning, but it all somehow worked.Baseball rarely rewards this kind of fortune two years in a row, but the Rays should definitely be on every baseball fan’s playoff radar. Admittedly, though, there are reasons to be skeptical. The AL East won’t be any easier this year, and at the time of this writing, the Rays’ official depth chart lists only three starting pitchers while the lineup is no more star-studded than it was last summer. But the ingredients are still there for them to make noise for the second straight year.This begins with the aforementioned pitching rotation. At the top is Blake Snell, who beat Justin Verlander, Corey Kluber and Chris Sale to be the 2018 AL Cy Young winner. After putting together respectable seasons in his first two years in the majors, Snell was a world-beater in 2018. His 1.89 ERA led the league, and he held opposing hitters to a 0.974 WHIP. Snell’s overall velocity climbed from 2017 to 2018, and batters found him mostly mystifying. He benefited some from stranding runners at an 88 percent rate last season, but even with some general regression, Snell should remain an ace.Behind Snell, the Rays have Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow. Both are question marks with high potential. Morton was a key piece of the strong Astros rotations of 2017 and 2018, and despite being 35, his velocity has increased over the past three years, up to nearly 97 mph on his fastball in 2018. There are no real signs that he’ll regress significantly, so the Rays have a solid number two starter in Morton. As for Glasnow, he was once a heralded pitching prospect in the Pirates’ system, but has not yet pitched to his potential. Traded to the Rays at the non-waiver deadline last summer in the Chris Archer deal, Glasnow might benefit from the change of scenery. Hopefully, he continues to balance his fastball with his secondary pitches and breaks out in the way fans have anticipated since he debuted with Pittsburgh in 2016.There’s admittedly nothing particularly dazzling about the Rays offense, but good health in their outfield might be all they need to shine. Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier is a whiz with the glove, but injuries have kept him out of the lineup with growing frequency since 2016. If he can reverse that trend, he has shown that he can balance his sterling defense with a productive bat.MORE: Justin Verlander not thinking about retiring Newly signed outfielder Avisail Garcia was once dubbed the next Miguel Cabrera while he was with the Tigers, and in 2017 he looked like he had finally arrived with the White Sox thanks to an All-Star worthy season in which he hit .330 with 18 home runs and 27 doubles. But he came back to earth in 2018. Repeated hamstring injuries kept him to 93 games with Chicago, and his batting average dipped all the way to .236. But if there’s a silver lining, he still hit a career-high 19 home runs despite the limited playing time. If he remains healthy, the Rays may have struck gold.On the same day that the Rays traded Archer to the Pirates, they dealt with the Cardinals for outfielder Tommy Pham. Pham then broke his foot on Aug. 3 and missed two weeks, but in 39 games with the Rays last year he hit .343 with 20 extra-base hits. Pham fought for regular playing time with the Cardinals for years, and it looks as if he could end that fight in Tampa Bay. As a regular starter in left field for the Rays, he’s likely to find his groove.Preseason predictions for the American League are pretty steadily calling for the Rays to win around 85 games. Though this would obviously be a step back from last year’s total, it would put them in solid position to be one of the wild-card teams, probably competing with Oakland for the second spot. And like their counterparts on the West Coast, there might not be a lot that’s eye-catching about them on paper, but they’re going to make it work. Earlier this week, the case was made for why the Cardinals would grab a playoff spot in the National League this season after missing out for the last three years. Over in the American League, the competition for a 2019 postseason berth might not be as far-reaching, but outside of the obvious four October teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, and Astros), the rest of the field is still hard to predict.The Athletics were the surprise wild-card team in 2018, and though they might repeat as a wild-card again this year, the other team set to reach the playoffs after missing out last fall is the Rays.