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

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Friday, December.28, 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.

James Shields ALL-Time so far. David Price may not take very long to surpass all of is Franchise Records James Shields has been the teams best chucker of ALL-Time so far. David Price may not take very long to surpass all of his Franchise Records with Shields heading to KC  now

James Shields  enjoys most of the Teams  ALL-Time Pitching Records so far.  David Price may not take very long to surpass all of his Franchise Records with Shields heading to KC now.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

The Rays had several lean years of pitching before a starter really made his mark.  Out of the gate, Roberto Hernandez had helped the team with closing at least.  In the early years, the best pitching was done by Rolando Arrojo, followed by Victor Zambrano, before he was traded for Scott Kazmir.  The Mets/Rays trade was the foundation for the pitching staff finally evolving.  Soon James Shields was up with the big club.  In 2008, the teams 5 starters towed the hill for all season in what would be an eventual World Series Birth.  Newly acquired Matt Garza, joined Shields, Kazmir, Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine for double-digit wins and winning records.

David Price was next to join the staff in 2009 and he has not looked back since. Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore joined the pitching staff in the next few years after that.  The stable of bullpen relievers keeps coming and going. J.P. Howell has been the biggest mainstay there.  Even with departing starters of Davis and (the Franchise Leader in several pitching categories) Shields, the team is not bare at the kitchen cupboard.  The Rays finished 1st in Team Pitching ERA last year for all of the MLB.  The next closest team in the AL was the Oakland – at almost a third of a run more. 

The Rays have been blessed with some great years recently out of lower salaried closers.  Whether it was Troy Percival, Kyle Farnsworth, Rafael Soriano or Fernando Rodney, Andrew Friedman has had a knack for gluing together a bullpen on a  shoestring budget.  With David Price winning the Cy Young Award in 2012, the best pitching may be yet to come for the AL East Team.  Honorable Mentions went to these players, but they were not the same caliber as everyone else:  Esteban Yan, Andy Sonnanstine, Kyle Farnsworth  SP/RP  Rick White RP  Lance Cormier and RP Jim Mecir.

Scroll Down past the Franchise Links for the Pitchers or click on the Read The Rest Of This Entry Icon just past the Video Clip.

Franchise Series Links:

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

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

2013 Team Payroll Part 4 of 5:  Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012

Tropicana Field Expert Part 5 of 5:  An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

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

was the closer for the years of 1998-2000 and is still the ALL-Time Leader in Saves

Roberto Hernanez was the closer for the years of 1998-2000 and is still the Franchises ALL-Time Leader in Saves.

Roberto Hernandez CL  1998-2000  8-16 (.333) 3.43 and 101 SV:  Hernandez converted 101 out of 122 Save opportunities.  He led the American League with 66 Games Finished in 1999, plus with 43 Saves (he was 2nd best in AL.)  Hernandez made an appearance at the 1999 ALL-Star Game for the Rays.  He finished 10th in AL Cy Young Voting.  In 1998 and 2000, he also finished in the top 5 for Games Finished.  He Struckout 185 batters over the 218 IP for his Tampa career.

Victor Zambrano  2001-2004  35-27 (.565)  4.47 ERA:  Zambrano started out of the pen during the 2001 season and went 6-2.  Moving to the rotation, he had subsequent years of 8-8, 12-10 and 9-7.  These are decent records when you consider the team he was on was losing around 95 games a season.  He was traded in the 2004 year for Scott Kazmir.  Zambrano still ranks 5th in Franchise Wins.

Lance Carter RP 2002-2005  13-10 (.565) 3.92 ERA 29 SV:  Lance Carter made an ALL-Star Appearance for the Devil Rays in 2003.  That year he nailed down 26 Saves.  While never blowing away that many guys, he was effective for the Rays, appearing in 165 Games and only carrying a WHIP of 1.213.  He is the benefactor of a team only being 15 Years Old, so he may not make the next Franchise List for Rays Pitchers.

Danys Baez  RP  2004-2007  9-8 (.529)  3.21 ERA 71 SV:  Baez finished with 30 Saves in 2004 and 41 Saves in 2005, good for 6th and 5th in the AL in those respective years.  His 2005 campaign saw him make the ALL-Star Squad with a 5-4 Record and an ERA of 2.86.  Baez is 2nd in Franchise Saves and closed out 71 Saves in 82 Chances for an 86.6 % conversion rate.

Scott Kazmir  SP 2004-2009  55-44 (.556) 3.92 ERA:  Kazmir was a stud for the Rays in his early career.  The guy finished 9th in Rookie Of The year Voting in 2006, by going 10-9 with a 3.77 ERA.  For his Rays Career, he struck out 874 guys in 834 Innings Pitched. Kazmir had 2 ALL-Star Appearances with the club in 2006 and 2008.  He posted double digits wins from 2005-2008 and never had double digits in losses.  in 2007, Kazmir led the AL with starts (34) and Strikeouts (239).  Kazmir pitched in 2 games of the 2008 World Series for Tampa Bay.  He is 3rd in ALL-Time Franchise Wins and 2nd in SO, IP and Games Started.

James Shields SP 2006-2012  87-73  (.544) 3.89 ERA:   Shields was 31-22, with 448 Strikeouts in 477 IP in the last 2 years for the Rays.  He was traded just a few weeks ago for a package of prospects including Wil Myers.  Shields owns the ALL-Time Franchise Records for w, L, IP (1454.2) GS (217) SO (1250) CG (19) and Shutouts with 8.  He led the American League with 11 Complete Games and 4 Shutouts during his 2011 ALL-Star Year.  He was 3rd in the AL for ERA – and he also finished 3rd in AL Cy Young Voting for his efforts.  Shields was the only Rays Pitcher to win a World Series Game in the 2008 Fall Classic.  He threw 5.2 IP of scoreless baseball and helped the club even up the Series  in Game #2.

J.P. Howell RP  2006-2012, (Free Agent)  18-18 (.500),  4.05 ERA, 252 GP and 321 SO:  This guy has been one of the best relievers in team history.  Howell has had 3 strong years with the club.  He was 6-1, with a 2.22 ERA and 92 SO in 89 IP during the 2008 World Series year.  Howell then went 7-5, with 17 SV, 41 GF and a 2.84 ERA in 2009.  In 2012, he appeared in 55 Games and Struck-out 42 batters in 50.1 IP.  Howell has also fanned 17 hitters in just 12 Post Season Innings Pitched, but he went 0-2 in the 2008 World Series out of the pen.

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

David  Price is not only establishing himself as the best ALL-Time Pitcher for the Rays, he might be the premier Left Handed Pitcher in the AL right now

David Price is not only establishing himself as the best ALL-Time Pitcher for the Rays, he might be the premier Left Handed Pitcher in the AL right now.

David Price  SP  2008-2012  61-31 (.663)  3.16 ERA:  Price is putting together a resume that is grounds for the Franchise retiring his number one day.  He is a 3 time ALL-Star, won the 2012 AL Cy Young Award and narrowly missed a 2nd when he finished 2nd in the 2010 Season.  He led the AL with Wins (20) and Win Pctg (.800) in 2012.  In 2011, he led the AL with 34 starts.  The mans year records have gone, 10-7, 19-6, 12-13 and 20-5 this past year.  Price fanned over 200 hitters in both of the last 2 years.  The big Leff-Handed Starter also has thrown 3 straight years of 200+ IP.  Soon he will qualify for ALL-Time Win Pctg.  Only Roy Halladay at .666, would be higher than him right now.  Price is 2nd ALL-Time in  Franchise Wins and ERA, while he is 3rd in Innings Pitched and Strikeouts.  Assuredly, he will own more of these records if he pitchers with the club though the 2015 season. After that, he is a Free Agent.

Grant Balfour RP 2007-2010  14-7 (.633)  3.33 ERA, 8 SV, 234 SO in 203 IP:  Balfour had his best year with the Rays in 2008, where he went 6-2 with a 1.54 ERA in 51 Appearances. He Struckout 82 hitters in just 58.1 IP.  Balfour also carried a 2.28 ERA in 57 Games for the 2010 Tampa Bay Rays.  He K’d 56 guys in 55.2 IP.

Matt Garza SP  2008-2010  34-31 (.523)  3.89 ERA:  Garza came over in the Delmon Young trade and provided instant results.  He went 11-9 with a a 3.70 ERA for the team.  His best year in Tampa came in 2010, with a record of 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA.  He threw 2 consecutive years with 200+ IP during 2009 and 2010.  In 5 Career Post Season Stars, he had a record of 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA.  He Struckout 29 batters in 31 Innings Pitched.  He was the 2008 ALCS MVP, where he beat the Boston Red Sox in Game #3 and Game #7 with a 1.38 ERA for the Series.

Wade Davis  SP/RP 2009-2012:  28-22 (.560)  3.94 ERA:  Wade Davis was part of the trade for Wil Myers and will be pitching in KC.  He finished 4th in AL Rookie Of The Year Voting during the 2010 year.  He went 12-10 with a 4.07 ERA in a tough AL East to put himself amongst the top rookies.  After a decent 2011 season, Tampa used him out of the bullpen this past season of 2012.  He Appeared in 54 Games and Struckout 87 hitters in 70 IP.  He was 3-0 and sizzled with 2.43 ERA.

Rafael Soriano CL  2010  3-2 (.600) 1.73 ERA:  Soriano led the American League in Saves for the 2010 Year.  He helped the club win the AL East Division by converting on 45 of 48 Save Opportunities.  The guy fanned 57 men in 62.1 IP.  He made the ALL-Star team, finished 8th in AL Cy Young Voting and 12th in AL MVP voting.  That is one heck of a year!  He is still 4th on the ALL-Time Saves List for the club.

Jeremy Hellickson  SP  2010-Present   27-21 (.563)  3.06 ERA:  Based on his Innings Pitched of 402.1, he is the club leader in ALL-Time Best ERA.  Hellickson was also the Rookie Of The Year in the American League for 2011, by going 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA.  He took home a Gold Glove for his 2012 season.  The Right Handed Pitcher has a Career WHIP of 1.193.  The sky is the limit for this guy going forward.

Jeff Niemann  SP 2008-Present  40-26 (.606)  4.08 ERA:  Niemann burst onto the scene in 2009, where he went 13-6 and posted a 3.94 ERA.  He finished 4th in AL Rookie Of The Year Voting.  Niemann followed that up with 11-7 and 12-8 in 2010 and 2011 respectively.  Seasons in which the club made the playoffs.  Niemann battled injuries in 2012, but is looking for a full recovery in 2013.  He will certainly climb up the Franchise List on just about everything.  His .606 Winning Percentage is 2nd to only David Price for the Teams best mark.

Fernando Rodney CL  2012-Present  2-2 (.500) 0.60 ERA:  Rodney had one of the best relieving years in MLB History.  He Appeared in 73 Games for the year.  He fanned 76 batters in 74.2 IP.  His great 2012 campaign so him finish 13 in AL MVP Voting.  His WHIP for the year was 0.77 as he allowed only 43 Hits and 15 Walks in his work.  He also only yielded 5 Earned Runs for the whole season.  Outstanding pickup as a Free Agent by Andrew Friedman.  He has one more year left to add to his Rays totals.  He sits in 3rd Place already on the ALL-Time Club Saves List.

Future Players/Past Stories:

Matt Moore will definitely make this list if he keeps improving.  I also wanted to acknowledge Pitcher Jim Morris, who made his MLB Debut at the Age of 35 for the Rays.  Morris fanned 13 guys in 15 Career Innings Pitched.  His story made it all the way to Hollywood where Dennis Quaid played his life story out in “The Rookie.”

Jim Morris

Jim Morris.

Franchise Series Links:

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

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

2013 Team Payroll Part 4 of 5:  Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012

Tropicana Field Expert Part 5 of 5:  An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

Rodney had 48 Saves and a 0.60 ERA in 2012, to place 5th in AL Cy  Young Voting and was an ALL-Star.  He is signed for one more year in 2013 at just 2.5 Million.  He was named AL Comeback Player of The Year in 2012

Rodney had 48 Saves and a 0.60 ERA in 2012, to place 5th in AL Cy Young Voting and was an ALL-Star. He is signed for one more year in 2013 at just 2.5 Million. He was named AL Comeback Player of The Year in 2012.

*** 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

a  a chuck booth

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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 28, 2012, in MLB Historical Series, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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