Results tagged ‘ Tampa Bay Devil Rays ’
The Tampa Bay Rays have had their fair share of touted prospects in their nearly 15-year history.
Stars such as Scott Kazmir, Evan Longoria and David Price are Rays who lived up to their high expectations. The organization, however, has seen a handful of busts and underachieving prospects as well.
Without further delay, here’s a look back at the four Rays prospects who never lived up to the hype.
Drafted third overall in the 2001 MLB Draft right behind Joe Mauer and Mark Prior, Dewon Brazelton was expected to be the Devil Rays’ ace for years to come.
He never would find success at the big league level, though, struggling mightily throughout his brief five-year MLB career.
Brazelton posted a lifetime 8-25 record and a 6.38 ERA, pitching most of his innings with Tampa Bay.
B.J. Upton is obviously nothing near a prospect bust, but he has yet to live up to the very high expectations put upon him since the age of 17.
Over eight seasons with Tampa Bay, the now 28-year-old centerfielder was a productive player. He put up a .255/.336/.422 slash line with 118 home runs, 232 stolen bases and a 107 wRC+.
Upton will likely never live up to the hype of being a No. 2 overall draft pick and the No. 2 ranked prospect in all of baseball in 2004, but his tenure with the Rays wasn’t all that disappointing.
Delmon Young’s case is similar to B.J. Upton’s: He was a Devil Rays top prospect who simply never played as well as expected, and is now a somewhat productive big league outfielder.
One year after Upton was drafted second overall, Young was taken by Tampa Bay first overall. He was ranked in the top three of Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list four straight years (2004-2007), including being ranked the game’s No. 1 prospect in 2006.
The kid who was once expected to be an MVP caliber slugger has turned out to be a career 97-wRC+ and -0.3 WAR player.
General Manager Andrew Friedman really made the right move when he traded Young to Minnesota in a blockbuster deal before the 2008 season which included Matt Garza and shortstop Jason Bartlett, two guys who would help bring Tampa Bay its first pennant that year.
Rocco Baldelli was another top prospect who was a key part of the Devil Rays’ once bright outfield future.
Baldelli, a former sixth overall draft pick and No. 2 ranked prospect, didn’t disappoint at all to begin his career. He had a successful first two seasons, finishing third for Rookie of the Year in 2003 and quickly becoming a fan favorite in Tampa Bay.
It would only go downhill from there for Baldelli, however, as a rare muscle disease caused him numerous injuries and derailed his promising career.
Rocco, now retired, owns a career 98 wRC+.
In their short-lived history, the Tampa Bay Rays haven’t had much success up until recent years (2008). From Fred McGriff to Carl Crawford to Evan Longoria, the Rays have always had a star shining bright in Tampa Bay.
The Rays haven’t had any MVP or Cy Young award winners yet, but they have had their share of Gold Glovers, Silver Sluggers and league leaders.
I’ve decided to put together a 25-man roster—with the exact same structure of an active roster today—compiling all the greatest the franchise’s history. Taking all the Rays’ best players from the last 14 years, here’s how I believe their all-time roster should look like.
Catcher: Toby Hall (2000-2006)
Stat Line (seven years):.262/.298/.382, 44 HR, 4.6 WAR
Toby Hall started his big league with the Devil Rays in 2000, and was traded to the Dodgers in 2006 during his seventh season with the team.
Hall was D-Rays’ Opening Day catcher for five straight seasons, and is the franchise-leader in most offensive at the positions. He was never any kind of star, but he consistently hit over .250 with some pop in his bat. He may have not be the ideal starting catcher for an MLB team, but the Rays would love to have somebody like him now with their backstop mess.
Defensively, Hall was pretty solid. Although his fielding percentage in those seven seasons were a tad below the league average, his caught-stealing percentage was above the league average every year he spent with the Rays. He also had a very good rSB (Stolen Base Runs Saved).
Stat Line (five-plus years):.233/.365/.496, 154 HR, 14.4 WAR
Slugger Carlos Pena has made himself a place in the Rays record books over his five seasons spent with the team. Pena is the franchise leader in slugging percentage, OPS and home runs.
Pena also has his share of accolades. He won a Silver Slugger in 2007, in the year that he finished runner-up to Alex Rodriguez for the American League home run crown. He also has a Gold Glove (2008), an All-Star Game selection (2009), a Comeback Player of the Year award (2007) and finished top 10 in the MVP voting for two straight seasons (2007-2008).
Pena—one of the greatest run-producers in Rays history—is also among the league’s top defensive first basemen. His DRS and fielding percentage during his years with the Rays have been impressive.
Second Base: Ben Zobrist (2006-Present)
Stat Line (seven-plus years):.256/.351/.436, 81 HR, 20.9 WAR
Probably the best and most versatile utility man in baseball, Zobrist has been one of the Rays [and baseball's] most valuable players since he bloomed back in 2009. “Zorilla”, as he’s called in Tampa Bay, can play pretty much every position besides pitcher, and he plays at least three of them (LF, RF and 2B) exceptionally well.
Zobrist is one of the Rays’ five most valuable players ever, and set the club record for highest WAR in a single season (8.7). In that same season (2009), he was selected to the All-Star Game and finished eight in the MVP voting.
Zobrist’s career UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) of 30.9 and DRS of 31 are two numbers that show his defensive excellence. He also owns a career dWAR (defensive WAR) of 6.1.
Shortstop: Julio Lugo (2003-2006)
Stat Line (four years): .287/.350/.421, 88 SB, 13.8 WAR
It’s hard to decide who gets the starting job at short on this roster between Lugo and Jason Bartlett, but I think Lugo gets the edge because he played one more year than Bartlett with the Rays.
Lugo was a consistent contact hitter for the Devil Rays, and did a pretty good job of getting on base and swiping bags. He’s third among the franchise’s all-time leaders in steals, and averaged around 10 HR and 50 RBI per season with the D-Rays.
Stat Line (four-plus years):.276/.362/.516, 117 HR, 27.8 WAR
In his his fifth year with the Rays, Evan Longoria has emerged as the newest face of the franchise. He’s done some incredible things in his four-plus seasons spent with the Rays.
Longo lead the team in their amazing postseason run in 2008, blasting six homers and 11 RBI to help the Rays reach the World Series. And last year, in the final game of the regular season, Longoria had the game of his life and we all know what happened then.
Longoria is top three among Rays franchise leaders in pretty much every statistical category. He’s a three-time All-Star, a Rookie of the Year award-winner, a two-time Gold Glover, a Silver Slugger and a two-time top-10 finisher in the MVP voting.
Defensively, Longoria is simply the best third baseman in baseball. His talent with the glove—and arm—is absolutely ridiculous. He owns an incredible career UZR of 50.8 and a DRS of 73.
He’s clearly on pace to be the best Rays player of all-time.
Left Field: Carl Crawford (2002-2010)
Stat Line (nine years): .296/.337/.444, 409 SB, 104 HR, 36.8 WAR, 1480 H
It’s simply unarguable: Carl Crawford still remains the best Tampa Bay Ray who ever lived. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in every major stat, besides home runs, OBP and slugging percentage.
Crawford excelled in every part of the game; hitting, base-running, driving in runs, base-running and fielding.
He was debatably baseball’s biggest threat on the bases for many years, leading the league four times in that category and even reaching 60 steals one year.
Defensively, I don’t think any left fielder had the range that Crawford displayed through his nine seasons in Tampa. Although he did not have a very good arm, his unbelievable speed helped him snag fly balls that normal human beings could never reach. Crawford’s DRS rating was great year-after-year, while his UZR was Gold Glove caliber.
His accolades include four All-Star Game selections, an All-Star Game MVP award (2009), a Silver Slugger (2010), a Gold Glove (2010) and a top-10 finish in the MVP voting (2010).
Crawford may of left Tampa on a bitter note, but no Rays fan should ever forget how amazing he was in those nine long years.
Center Field: B.J. Upton (2004-Present)
Stat Line (eight-plus years):.256/.340/.413, 95 HR, 214 SB, 20.5 WAR
This one’s another no-brainer, as B.J. Upton is indisputably the best center fielder in Rays history. He broke into the majors as a shortstop, but finally found his real home in center field in 2008.
He’s amongst the most valuable Rays of all time, and can is capable of providing 80+ RBI and 40+ stolen base type seasons. He’s a 20/20 Club (20 stolen bases, 20 homers) type player, and was one of a select few to collect 20+ homers and 30+ stolen bases last season.
Upton’s speed not only gives him a big boost on the base paths, but it also makes him a pretty good center fielder. He covers a lot of ground with ease in the outfield, and has a cannon for an arm as well.
Upton has maybe failed to reach his high expectations over the past few years, but nobody should forget his incredible playoff run in 2008, when he hit seven home runs and 15 RBI.
Right Field: Aubrey Huff (2000-2006)
Stat Line (six years): .287/.343/.477, 128 HR, 10.7 WAR
Aubrey Huff was one of the franchise’s best hitters during the Devil Ray era, supplying the team with a big portion of their runs during his six seasons spent in Tampa Bay. Hitting was the name of the game for Huff, who provided the D-Rays with 20+ homer and 90+ RBI power.
With a WAR of 10.7, Huff—who played four positions (corner outfield and corner infield)—is the second most valuable utility player in team history (behind Zobrist).
DH: Fred McGriff (1998-2001, 2004)
Stat Line (five years): .291/.380/.484, 99 HR, 7.8 WAR
As you can see from his stats, the “Crime Dog” was clearly one of the best offensive players in the Devil Ray ERA.
McGriff spent five years playing for his hometown team in Tampa Bay, starting from the ’98 Inaugural Year. He closed out his great career strong as a Devil Ray, hitting 99 homers and batting over .290 through those five years.
He owns the franchise record for OBP with a impressive .380, and is his batting average ranks third in team history.
Starting Pitcher #1: James Shields (2006-Present)
Stat Line (seven-plus years): 79-68, 3.97 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 22.7 WAR
Statistics don’t show how much “Big Game James” has meant to the Rays. More than any other Rays starter in history, Shields wins games. Especially the the big games (hence the nickname). Shields has played six seasons for the Rays, and has been a big part of the rotation for most of his short career.
After a disappointing 2010 season, Shields came back with a career year last season. He led the terrific young Rays pitching staff, posting a 2.82 ERA with 16 wins and 11 complete games. He also finished third in the Cy Young voting and was elected to his first All Star Game.
Shields remains the most valuable Rays pitcher of all time, and the franchise leader in two of the three major pitching categories (wins, ERA, strikeouts). He owns the team record for wins (79), strikeouts (1,026), BB/K (2.12) and innings pitched (1331.2).
Stat Line (five-plus years): 51-30, 3.32 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 12.2 WAR
David Price has done so much in his short time in the big leagues.
In just a little over three seasons, Price has been selected to two All Star Games, finished second in the 2009 Cy Young voting and closed out Game 7 of the ALCS to win the pennant.
At just 26 years old, it looks like it’s just the beginning of a great career for Price.
Starting Pitcher #3: Scott Kazmir (2004-2009)
Stat Line (six years): 55-44, 3.92 ERA, 9.4 K/9, 16.5 WAR
Scott Kazmir was the ace of the Rays’ rotation in four out of his six years on the team. He was among the franchise’s three original farm-gown stars, which included his Texas-native teammates Aubrey Huff and Carl Crawford.
Kazmir was really the only solid starting pitcher the Rays had until 2008, when the team went worst to first.
Considering the Devil Rays’ lack of arms in the rotation, the two-time All Star was one of baseball most valuable pitchers for a while. Kazmir’s years are probably behind him, but he had a heck of a run with the Rays.
Starting Pitcher #4: Matt Garza (2008-2010)
Stat Line (three years): 34-31, 3.86 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 7.6 WAR
Matt Garza did great things for the Rays in his three seasons spent with the team.
He was a huge part of the Rays’ pennant-winning run in ’08, going 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA against the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS, and earning him the ALCS MVP award. His masterful Game 7 performance when his team needed him more than ever is how Garza should be remembered.
That Game 7 was not the only unforgettable moment, however, Garza also tossed the franchise’s first [and only] no-htter.
The Rays eventually traded Garza to the Cubs after the 2010 season, in a deal that ended up being one of the greatest trades in Rays history.
Stat Line (five-plus years): 40-26, 4.11 ERA, 6.7 K/9, 6.1 WAR
Simply put, the only thing that has gotten in the way of stardom for Jeff Niemann is injuries. It seems like right when the big right-hander starts to heat up, he lands on the DL.
As you can see from his win-loss record and decent ERA, Niemann has been a big part of the Rays’ rotation. He’s been arguably baseball’s best back-end starter in the past few years, and he is definitely the best No. 5 starter in the league right now.
Niemann has never really received the credit he deserves, especially considering he cuts the top three in many teams’ rotations.
Stat Line (five years): 28-31, 5.26 ERA, 5.7 K/9, 4.6 WAR
As a starter, Sonnanstine’s only good year was 2008, when he posted a 13-9 record and a 4.38 ERA.
As a reliever, it hasn’t been too much of a success story either, but Sonnanstine did prove he could be an effected long reliever at one point. His stats as a reliever through 52 appearances (86 IP) include a 2-0 record and a 4.40 ERA.
In one department, however, Sonnanstine was the best amongst all the Rays’ pitchers: Hitting. Sonny was once inserted into the lineup as a hitter in an American Leaguegame, and did not disappoint, hitting an RBI double to help his team to a win. He owns a .292 batting average and is tied for the franchise record with seven hits.
Stat Line (five years): 26-30, 5.01 ERA, 18 Hld, 7.5 K/9, 3.2 WAR
Esteban Yan was best known as starter for the Devil Rays, but he actually pitched more innings as a reliever in his career than a starter.
He only started 21 games with the D-Rays (20 of them in 2000), as he had 245 appearances as a reliever during his five seasons spent in Tampa Bay.
Stat Line (four years): 14-7, 3.33 ERA, 49 Hld, 8 SV, 10.4 K/9, 4.3 WAR
Grant Balfour was a huge piece to the Rays ’08 bullpen, which was outstanding all-year round. Balfour blossomed that year, ending the regular season 6-2 with a 1.54 ERA.
He was just as terrific in the ALDS, when he threw 3.1 huge scoreless innings against the White Sox.
Balfour’s numbers with the Rays—especially in the 2008 and 2010 seasons (the two years they made the playoffs)—pretty much tell the story for him.
Stat Line (two years): 9-8, 3.21 ERA, 71 SV, 6.6 K/9, 1.2 WAR
Danys Baez enjoyed the two best years of his career with Tampa Bay, racking up a total of 71 saves through 2004 and 2005.
He only served as a closer for the D-Rays’ bullpen, but he’s probably a better fit at middle relief on this 25-man roster.
Lefty Specialist: Trever Miller (2004-2005, 2008)
Stat Line (three years): 5-3, 3.75 ERA, 32 Hld, 8.0 K/9, 1.4 WAR
You’re probably surprised to see Trever Miller as the lefty specialist on this roster rather than J.P. Howell. But when you look at the main job of a ‘lefty specialist’, and then compare the two’s numbers, Miller seems like the better guy for the role.
Against Howell, left-handed batters and right-handed batters are both hitting .248 and the lefties own a .328 OBP against him in his career. Against Miller, lefties are hitting .225 with a .316 OBP, which is much better than his splits against righties.
Howell wasn’t a lefty specialist in the years that he thrived (2008-2009) anyways, while Trever Miller was in his three years with the Rays.
Stat Line (seven years): 13-25, 4.32 ERA, 64 Hld, 7.7 K/9, 1.2 WAR
As I mentioned before, the Rays put together an excellent bullpen in 2008. It included big contributions from J.P. Howell, Chad Bradford, Trever Miller, Grant Balfour, closer Troy Percival and more. Dan Wheeler was the rock of that ‘pen, and really was the team’s most dependable reliever all-year long.
He’s the best set-up man in the franchise’s history, and owns the team record for holds (64).
Don’t let the numbers fool you, as most of Wheeler’s struggles came in his first three seasons (’99-’01) with the Devil Rays.
Closer: Roberto Hernandez (1998-2000)
Stat Line (three years): 8-16, 3.43 ERA, 101 SV, 7.6 K/9, 4.0 WAR
Roberto Hernandez was really the Devil Rays’ only defensive bright spot in their early years. The starting pitching, fielding and the rest of the the bullpen were all pretty awful in the franchise’s first few seasons.
The Rays have had some good closers in their short-lived history, but none have matched Hernandez’s team record of 101 saves.
In 1999, Hernandez collected 43 saves (out of 47 opportunities) and was selected to the All-Star Game. He also finished top 10 in the Cy Young voting that season.
Backup Catcher: Dioner Navarro (2006-2010)
Stat Line (five years): .243/.300/.352, 29 HR, 2.0 WAR
This was a very, very tough choice for me between Dioner Navarro and John Flaherty.
Flaherty posted better offensive numbers in all the major categories (besides OBP) through his five seasons, but there are three things that give Navarro the tiny edge here.
One reason is a standout season, something that Flaherty never had with the Devil Rays. Navarro had a career year in 2008, and was a big part of the team’s magical run that season. He batted .295/.349/.407, and was selected to his first ever All-Star Game.
Navarro also hit well in the postseason, finishing with a combined .293/.339/.362 line and five RBI.
Another small advantage Navarro has over Flaherty is defense—at least in the throwing department. Navarro’s caught-stealing percentages were flat-out consistently better than Flaherty’s. Navarro posted a percentage 10% higher than the league average twice in his five years with Tampa.
Backup Infielder: Wade Boggs (1998-1999)
Stat Line (two years): .289/.360/.391, 9 HR, 81 RBI, 1.3 WAR
Boggs would of made the starting lineup on a handful of teams’ all-time 25-man roster. However, the corner infielder is blocked out by Evan Longoria at third (his primary position) and probably shouldn’t be put at first, considering the fact he only played four games at the position during his two seasons with the Rays.
He’s the only [current] Hall of Famer to ever play in a Rays uniform, and the only Ray ever to have his number retired at Tropicana Field.
Nobody can ever forget his magical moment at the Trop in ’99, when Boggs blasted a home run into the right field seats for his milestone 3,000th career hit.
Backup Infielder: Jason Bartlett (2008-2010)
Stat Line (three years): .288/.349/.403, 61 SB, 19 HR, 150 RBI, 8.6 WAR
This roster needs a backup middle-infielder, and Jason Bartlett’s just the guy for the job. Bartlett was very valuable to the Rays as their starting shortstop for three seasons, as his 8.6 WAR that he posted in just 400 games suggests.
He hit well for average and did pretty well getting on base, as you can see from the numbers above. He was also a solid and consistent defender at short.
Bartlett had one standout year in Tampa Bay, when he hit .320/.389/.490 with 5.5 WAR and 140 wRC+ in 2009. He was also selected to the All-Star Game that season.
Backup Outfielder/ Right-Handed Pinch Hitter: Rocco Baldelli (2003-2008, 2010)
Stat Line (six years): .280/.324/.444, 53 HR, 7.7 WAR
A rare muscle disease was probably the only reason Baldelli never rose as an MLB star. He was still a fan favorite and a hometown hero in Tampa Bay throughout his injury-riddled career, though.
Rocco enjoyed early success in his first two seasons (’03-’04), and in his third season (’06) after returning from a season-long injury. It would only go downhill from there, however, as the injuries got worse.
Baldelli played at the end of the 2008 season, and also bolstered the Rays’ offense in the postseason. After playing one year in Boston after that, he retired at the age of 29, playing his last season with the Rays in 2010.
Just Missed the Cut
Stat Line (two years): .275/.329/.479, 40 HR, 128 RBI, 1.8 WAR
Utility man Ty Wiggington’s versatility and power was almost enough to put him on this roster.
Stat Line (three years): .281/.354/.393, 104 RBI, 29 SB, 6.6 WAR
Aki was a big part of the Rays’ championship team in ’08, serving as their leadoff hitter while hitting pretty well for average during his three seasons in Tampa Bay.
Stat Line (six years): .235/.329/.455, 66 HR, 1.5 WAR
Gomes was just edged out by Baldelli on the roster as the backup outfielder/right-handed pinch hitter. He was one of the Rays best home-run hitters during the six seasons he played with them, but Baldelli is simply the better all-around player.
Stat Line (five years): .279/.342/.400, 24 HR, 80 SB, 6.0 WAR
Winn’s ability to play all three outfield positions, hit for average and steal bases put him in the conversation to make this roster.
Stat Line (five years): .252/.289/.365, 35 HR, 2.1 WAR
As stated in the article, Dioner Navarro just beats out Flaherty as the backup catcher on this roster.
Stat Line (two-plus years): 21-13, 3.14 ERA, 5.99 K/9, 1.7 WAR
Hellickson just hasn’t pitched long enough to make the roster, but he still deserves an honorable mention.
Stat Line (one year): 3-2, 1.73 ERA, 45 SV, 1.5 WAR
Soriano was amazing and had a career year in his 2010 season with the Rays, when he helped the team win their second division title. But just one season—even as good as Soriano’s—is not enough for me to put a player on this roster.
The Tampa Bay Rays have a very short, but interesting history. The franchise has changed so much in a 13-year span, probably more than any other team. It’s a team that has suffered through plenty of bad seasons, but have had some miraculous ones too. So far there aren’t any Rays jerseys hanging in Cooperstown, but the emerging young talent is looking to change that. On this list I will rank the top 10 overall-best Tampa Bay Rays players; all the way from 1998. All position players who played over 300 games for the Rays and pitchers who were on the roster for at least two seasons, are eligible for the list. This automatically excludes some star names, like Jose Canseco and Wade Boggs. Still, super stars such as Carl Crawford, Fred McGriff, and Evan Longoria highlight a great top 10.
7.) B.J. Upton- B.J. Upton has proved to be one of the most valuable players to ever wear a Rays uniform. His career WAR of 19.8 is the fourth highest of all time for the franchise. He’s been a big part of the Rays’ past success, but still hasn’t played up to his full potential. Upton (along with Longoria) carried the Rays through the 2008 magical postseason run, blasting seven homeruns in the playoffs. Upton has been a huge part of the club for seven years now. His terrific speed, power, and great defense in center are all reasons why BJ is a big name in Tampa Bay. Below are Upton’s career stats:
6.) Fred McGriff- Fred McGriff, the “Crime Dog”, was one of the premier sluggers of the Devil Ray era. He spent five years playing for his hometown team in Tampa Bay, starting from the ’98 Inaugural Year. The six-time All Star was the franchise’s first real good hitter, along with Hall of Famer Wade Boggs. McGriff closed out his great career strong as a Devil Ray, hitting 99 homers and batting over .290 through his five seasons. Here are his career Tampa Bay Devil Rays stats:
|TBD (5 yrs)||577||2074||277||603||102||99||359||11||305||433||.291||.380||.484||.864||1004|
5.) Scott Kazmir- Scott Kazmir was the ace of the Rays’ rotation in four out of his six years on the team. He was amongst the franchise’s three original farm-gown stars, including his Texas-native teammates Aubrey Huff and Carl Crawford. Kazmir was really the only starting pitching the Rays had until 2008, when the team went worst to first. Considering the Devil Rays’ lack of arms in the rotation, the two-time All Star was one of baseball most valuable pitchers for a while. Kazmir’s years are probably behind him, but he had a heck of a run with the Rays. Here are career numbers as a Ray:
|TBR (6 yrs)||55||44||.556||3.92||145||834.0||777||400||87||382||9||874||1.390|
4.) Aubrey Huff- Aubrey Huff was the team’s main power source in most of his seven years as a member of the Devil Rays. Huff was an offensive machine for the team in his seasons, raking 128 homeruns and knocking in 449 runs. His solid defense at first base and ability to hit well for average, also added to his player value. Here are his stats for his Devil Rays career:
|TBD (7 yrs)||799||3028||400||870||172||128||449||20||247||412||.287||.343||.477||.819||1444|
3.) James Shields- Statistics don’t show how much “Big Game James” has meant to the Rays. More than any other Rays starter in history, Shields wins games. Especially the the big games (hence the nickname). Shields has played six seasons for the Rays, and has been a big part of the rotation for most of his short career. After a disappointing 2010 season, Shields came back with an incredible season last year. He lead the terrific young Rays pitching staff, with a 2.82 ERA and 16 wins. He finished third in the Cy Young voting, and was elected to his first All Star Game. He’s the most valuable Rays pitcher of all time, and he looks like he’s just getting better. Here are his lifetime stats:
2.) Evan Longoria- Since Carl Crawford departed to Boston last winter, Longoria has been the face of the franchise. The true leader of the team; the man who’s been carrying the Rays every since his monster rookie year back in ’08. Not only is Longoria a hometown hero in Tampa, but he’s also one of the best players in all the big leagues. The 27 year-old has big-time power, amazing defense, and hits in the clutch better than any Ray ever. He’s played only four seasons in the majors, but has already blasted over 100 homers and 400 RBIs. It’s only a matter of time before Longoria becomes the best Tampa Bay Rays player ever. Here are his career stats:
1.) Carl Crawford- I don’t think there’s a question of who’s the best Ray ever. Carl Crawford leads the franchise’s history in average, RBIs, runs, hits, stolen bases, WAR (36.8), and games played. All the way from 2002 to 2010, Crawford was the heart and soul of the franchise. CC was there for the good times and the bad, but was a great baseball player the whole way through.
|TBR (9 yrs)||1235||4992||765||1480||215||105||104||592||409||293||768||.296||.337||.444||.781||2217|
The Al East, unlike any other division, has a three-headed monster: the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays. And then there are the Blue Jays and the Orioles; the typical 4th and 5th place of the division in the past four years. Toronto and Baltimore are usually a team that quickly finds themselves out of the pennant race with the tough division. Although the Rays, Yanks, and Sox are a better baseball team than both Toronto and Baltimore, the Jays and O’s do one thing better than all three. Like many mediocre teams in MLB, the Jays and Orioles play “spoiler” in the month of September. These two teams have the biggest ‘spoiler’ job in all the MLB, being in the AL East. While some teams (like the Rays and Red Sox) are competing in tight race to the playoffs, the Jays and Orioles are playing their hearts out just to put a huge dent in the competitive team’s chances. As pesky as these ‘spoiler’ teams get, I truly believe that all teams should be putting in a 110% effort everyday even if they have no chance of making the postseason. It is the true sign of a hardworking team, that really takes pride in their job. The Rays were in this situation for a long 9 years, so they definitely have played this role before. This year the Jays have been the team helping out the Rays, and the Orioles have been the team giving them issues.
Toronto has won four of their last six against Boston, helping the Rays get back into the conversation. Quite frankly, the Rays wouldn’t even have a chance at this point if it weren’t for the Blue Jays. Toronto has fought to the death against Boston; winning two resilient comeback victories and displaying full-out effort in close games. This is a team that all teams should look up to as a role model. They might not win that many games or have a stacked roster, but they know that every game is a big game. As for the Orioles, this role has become a routine September for them. Unfortunately, their main victim this year so far is the Rays. Baltimore won the series two out of three at Camden Yards, which cost the Rays important ground in the battle with Boston.
Baltimore’s job is just getting started though, with all of their final 14 games of the season against playoff contenders. Hopefully they are just getting warmed up, as half of those four games are versus Boston. As for the members of Rays Republic, good job Jays and good luck O’s!