The Tampa Bay Rays: The Hitters 1998-2012: Part 2 Of A 5 Part Article Series

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Friday, December.21, 2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history.  2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of  my archived articles section here.

Carl Crawford Leads as the ALL-Time Club Record Holder in most offensive categories.  Will Evan Longoria run him down..or will the club trade him?

Carl Crawford Leads as the ALL-Time Club Record Holder in most offensive categories. Will Evan Longoria run him down for all of the team records..or will the club trade him in a few years when his contract escalates in pay?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

The Rays have only been around for 15 years, however they have seen their share of talent grace the club.  In their inaugural year, the club signed Free Agents Fred McGriff and Wade Boggs.  A few years later when Boggs retired, they added Vinny Castilla, Jose Canseco and Greg Vaughn all to the club.  This movement did not work out.  It was the drafted talent of the club that started to surface in the early 2000′s.  Aubrey Huff and Carl Crawford emerged as AL offensive threats.  Other picks like Rocco Baldelli, Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes started out on fire, yet quickly flamed out.  The club saw other guys come and go before the 2007 started to show what the team was really capable of.  Carlos Pena gave them a bonafide HR guy.  Soon Evan Longoria was called up to the Major Leagues and the club featured one of the best attacks in all of Major League Baseball.

The offense has suffered a bit of a drop-off in the last few years, but newly acquired Wil Myers is one of the best offensive prospects in the game of baseball.  Longoria is signed through 2023 and Ben Zobrist is a great all-around offensive talent signed for the next 3 seasons.  While the team will still be predominantly based with great pitching, the club should see some well-rounded offensive players. 

Tropicana Field is one of the harder places to put up great numbers, so we will see what the future holds.  We must look at the past.  In these Series I have been doing for the teams, a lot of criteria had to be met to be included in the Franchises best hitters or pitchers.  Obviously with a 15 Year Old team, the stakes are not raised as high.  I still looked for significant contributions to the team.  Of course if anyone ever leads the American League in any category, that is usually grounds for inclusion.

Franchise Series Article Links:

The Tampa Bay Rays: The Franchise 1998-2012: Part 1 Of A 5 Part Article Series

The Pitchers:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Pitchers 1998-2012: Part 3 Of A 5 Part Article Series

2013 Team Payroll Part 4:  Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012

Tropicana Field Expert:  An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

The Losing Years 1998-2006  (Tampa Bay Devil Rays):

Wade Boggs collected his 3000th Hit for the Rays.  It was a HR.  He and Derek Jeter are the only 2 guys ever to have their 3K hit as a round-tripper

Wade Boggs collected his 3000th Hit for the Rays. It was a HR.  He and Derek Jeter are the only 2 guys ever to have their 3K hit as a round-tripper.

Wade Boggs  3B/DH  1998-1999  .289    81 RBI, 210 Hits in 213 Games:  Boggs came back to his hometown to play his last 2 years in the MLB.  Boggs managed to hit .301 in the 1999 year. It would be his last seasob.   Boggs has his number 12 retired by the Rays soon after.  While he made more of an impact with the Red Sox and Yankees, his 3000th hit is one of the better memories of ALL-Time for the team’s fans.

Fred McGriff  1B/DH 1998-2001, 2004  .291   99 HRs, 359 RBI  .864 OPS:  McGriff was a one time ALL-Star with the Rays and provided them with the necessary pop out of the 1st Baseman position.  McGriff hit 80+ HRs with 4 different teams in his career.  He is 6th on the ALL-Time Franchise list for HRs and 2nd in OPS to Evan Longoria.  He had 2 30+ HR and 100 RBI+ years for the Rays and was an early fan favorite.  He attempted make a comeback to the Rays for his 500th HR, but he fell 7 HRs short and sits tied for 26th in MLB History (Lou Gehrig) with 493 Career HRs.

Aubrey Huff 1B/DH/RF 2000-2006  .287  128 HRs 449 RBI:  Huff hit for a .922 OPS in 2003 from his .311, 34 HRs and 107 RBI campaign.  He was a great part of the Rays lineup until he was traded to the Astros for Ben Zobrist.  Huff never made an ALL-Star Game for the Rays despite putting up decent totals each year.  Huff is 3rd in ALL-Time HRs and 4th in ALL-Time RBI for the franchise.  His 198 hits and 47 Doubles in 2003 are still both club records for a single season.  The guy is also 3rd in ALL-Time Doubles with 172.  Huff has two straight 100+ RBI years in 2003 and 2004.

Carl Crawford  CF 2002-2010  .296  104 HRs, 592 RBI, 105 3B, 1480 Hits and 409 SB:  Crawford leads most of the ALL-Time records of the offensive categories for the club except for HRs.  The man was a 4-Time ALL-Star for the Franchise and also collected a Gold Glove, plus a Silver Slugger Award for the team in 2010, while finishing 7th in AL MVP voting that year.  4 times Crawford led the AL in Stolen Bases as a Rays player.  Crawford also led the AL in Triples on 4 separate occasions.  3 times the speedster racked up 100 runs in a season.  Crawford is the Active leader amongst all of MLB’ers in Triples.  Crawford is also in the top 5 for Stolen Base Leaders that are Active.  Crawford was the premier lead-off hitter from 2007-2010 n the AL.  Crawford added 3 HRs, 9 RBI and 8 SB in 21 Games in the Post Season for the club.  Included in that, were 2 HRs versus the Phillies during the 2008 World Series in which the Rays lost 4 Games to 1.

Rocco  Baldelli was selected in the 2000 Amateur Draft.  He showed great early promise with a 3rd Place ROY finish before injuries began plaguing him later in his career.

Rocco Baldelli was selected in the 2000 Amateur Draft by the Rays. He showed great early promise with a 3rd Place ROY finish before injuries began plaguing him later in his career.

Rocco Baldelli  CF  2003-2008, 2010  .283  53 HRs,  239 RBI, 59 SB in 1760 AB Baldelli had a great rookie campaign, where he hit .289 with 78 RBI and 89 Runs while cracking out 184 Hits (Good for 10th in the AL that year.)  His 27 SB were also good for a 7th place finish in the AL.  He had speed, power and looked to be a young franchise player.  He found out in the 2007-08 years that he suffered from fatigue and this ultimately ended his career.  Baldelli managed to hit a HR in both of the ALCS and the WS during the 2008 playoffs run-despite fighting these said injuries.

Julio Lugo  2B/SS  2003-2006  .287  40 HRs, 212 RBI and 88 SB:  Lugo wasn’t much of a defensive player, but he could hit and run.  Lugo ranks 7th for ALL-Time Franchise Batting Avg and 3rd ALL-Time for SB.

B.J. Upton  OF  2004-2012  .255  118 HRs, 447 RBI and 232 SB:  Upton ranks 2nd to Crawford in Stolen Bases and is 4th ALL-Time for HRs, plus 5th ALL-Time RBI.  His best season came in 2007, where he hit .300 with 24 HRs and 82 RBI.  His OPS that year was a Career High of .894.  Upton also ranks 2nd in club history for runs with 532, and hits with 910.  Upton hit .284 in the 2008 Playoffs with a whopping  7 HRs and 16 RBI in just 67 AB.  His ALCS versus the Boston Red Sox was a Career highlight.  He smacked 4 HRs and added 11 RBI for the 7 games series win.  He was narrowly edged for the MVP by Matt Garza.

Ben Zobrist SS/2B/RF 2006-2012  .260  92 HRs, 388 RBI, 81 SB and 693 Hits:  Zobrist had made it up to the club by trading away Aubrey Huff for his services in return.  He is 3rd ALL-Time for the team in SB and Runs, plus he is 4th for ALL-Time Hits.  Zobrist lead the AL in WAR for both of the 2009 and 2011 seasons, while he just placed in 6th in 2013.  In addition to this, Zobrist had finished in the top 18 of AL MVP in 3 of the last 4 years, including 8th during the 2009 year.  Zobrist made an ALL-Star Game in 2009.  He routinely finishes in the top 10 categories for OBP, BB and Triples.  He also has played several different positions for the club and is an exceptional fielder at every spot.  The club has him under control until 2015.

A Rise To AL East Prominence 2007-2012 (Tampa Bay Rays)

Evan  Longoria appeared in only 74 Games after suffering an injury in Apr.  In those contests, the Rays were 47-27 (.635).  With him for a full season next year the club should contend for the AL East

Evan Longoria appeared in only 74 Games in 2012 after suffering an injury in Apr. In those contests, the Rays were 47-27 (.635). With him for a full season next year, the club should contend for the AL East.

 

Evan Longoria  3B  2008-2012  .276  130 HRs, 456 RBI,  .877 OPS and 652 Hits:  Longoria was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2008, when he hit .272, with 27 HRs and 85 RBI.  That year he made the 1st of 3 straight ALL-Star Appearances for the club.  He also has 2 Gold Gloves and 1 Silver Slugger so far.  He has finished from 8th-19th in AL MVP voting in four different years and was only held out this year due to injury.  He is the ALL-Time Club Leader for OPS and Slugging.  He already is in 2nd for ALL-Time HRs and 3rd in RBI.  Longoria’s average 162 Game Season includes 33 HRs and 116 RBI.  Longoria has added 8 HRs and 18 RBI in 98 Career Post Season AB.  He also hit 4 HRs versus the Red Sox in the 2008 ALCS.  The man is amongst the best defenders in the game and usually makes all of the top 5 defensive categories each year in the AL.  He just signed an extension to play through the 2023 year.  If all goes well, Longoria should put up incredible numbers as a Rays player.  He will have a chance to have his number retired and have his name littered across the ALL-Time Franchise Leaderboard.

Carlos Pena  1B  2007-2010, 2012  .230  163 HRs, 468 RBI, .843 OPS and 559 Hits:  Pena is 1st  ALL-Time for Franchise HRs, 2nd in OPS and RBI- and 3rd in SLG.  It was a great move to pick him up for a 4 YR Deal/25 Million Dollars prior to the 2007 season.  In that first year with the Rays, he hit 46 HRs (2nd In AL) and added 121 RBI (4th in the AL), good for a slash line of .282/.411/1.037.  He won the Silver Slugger Award for 1st Baseman and finished in 9th for AL MVP Voting.  2008 saw him add 31 HRs and 102 RBI.  He won the Gold Glove that year and finished in 9th for AL MVP Voting again.  In 2009, he tied for the AL lead in HRs with 39, despite missing 27 games.  his 100 RBI year also gave him that plateau 3 years consecutively.  He made his only ALL-Star Appearance for the club in 2009.  His last year average of .197 took away from some of his great Tampa Bay Rays numbers prior to the 2012 season.  He also walked on average of about 100 times a year with Tampa Bay.  In his Rays Post Season Career, he added 4 HRs and 14 RBI in 67 AB, with a .388 OBP and .910 OPS.

Jason Bartlett SS  2008-2010  .288  150 RBI and 68 SB:  Bartlett is on this list because of his great 2009 year, where he hit .320 (7th in the AL), was an ALL-Star and scored 90 runs.  The rest of his career was not as good for the Rays and he was traded away after the 2010 season.

Futures For This List: 

Matt Joyce, Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers.

Honorable Mentions: 

Jonny Gomes, Greg Vaughn, Jorge Cantu, Ty Wigginton, Delmon Young, Jose Canseco, Randy Winn, Toby Hall, Dioner Navarro

Jose Canseco was an ALL-Star in his only full year as a Devil Rays Player.  He hit 34 HRs and added 95 RBI.  He hit 40+ HRs Career for 5 separate teams in his career.

Jose Canseco was an ALL-Star in his only full year as a Devil Rays Player. He hit 34 HRs and added 95 RBI in the 1999 season. He hit 40+ HRs Career for 5 separate teams in his career.

 

Franchise Series Article Links:

The Tampa Bay Rays: The Franchise 1998-2012: Part 1 Of A 5 Part Article Series

The Pitchers:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Pitchers 1998-2012: Part 3 Of A 5 Part Article Series

2013 Team Payroll Part 4:  Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012

Tropicana Field Expert:  An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

 *** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners***

***Chuck Booth- Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:   To learn more about my  “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here . You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days- click here.  I am happy to be part of such an awesome Magazine-Style Baseball Website and am looking forward to talking to all of the fans of the MLB.  You can reach me on Twitter here

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker

Posted on December 21, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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