Tampa Bay Rays Midseason Grades

zobristMVP - Ben Zobrist

I even had a little issue typing that out myself,  and I know a lot of people will probably laugh when they see that, but when comparing the stats of all the hitters on the Rays, it is clear to me that Zobrist is the MVP of this years team.

AVG – .288, HR – 17, RBI – 50, OBP – .407, SLG – .602, OPS – 1.009

Slugging – 2nd in the AL

OBP – 3rd in the AL

OPS – 2nd in the AL

As I have mentioned before, there were some stats last year that indicated that maybe Zobrist had a little power in him, but even the most optimistic of people couldn’t have predicted this kind of season for Ben.  On top of the already great numbers, he has done it while playing 2b, SS, RF, CF, LF.  He also has had a penchant for coming up in the big moment just like he did on Wednesday with a game winning single against the Jays.

Honorable Mention – Jason Bartlett

jp-howellCy Young – JP Howell

Once again not a player you would have guessed would have been winning midseason team awards.  Howell has brought stability to an area of our team that I have repeatedly called the weakest link of our team.

ERA – 1.52, Saves – 6, IP – 41, K – 49, OAVG – .189

The thing that is most impresive thusfar about JP is his splits.

OAVG April – .273, May – .180, June .133

He gave up 0 ER in 13 innings last month after unexpectedly becoming the closer of the team.  I always personally thought that most of what made JP so good was coming after our power pitchers and pitching in the 7th or 8th, depending on who was starting.  This year though, he has shown that he is not just a situational pitcher best used after a particular player, but a dominant bullpen arm.  His breaking ball continues to get better, and he continues to make people miss with the bat.  He continually gets ahead of hitters in the count and with a .043 OAVG with an 0-2 count, if he gets 2 strikes on you, you are pretty much finished.

Honorable Mention – James Shields

LVPTroy Percival/Pat Burrell

When the Rays signed Percival before last season, it was a 4 million a year gamble for 2 years.  Hell, the guy had been out of baseall for a few years before showing a little spark with the Tigers at the end of the 2007 season.  He was hurt a lot last year and because he was named the closer, him being hurt brought stome instability to our pen.  This year has been even more of a disaster.

14 GP, 11.1 IP, 6.35 ERA

Now that is a small sample size to call someone our LVP and with relievers, small samples sizes can obviously skew numbers quite a bit.  One bad game, and your stats are pretty much ruined.  My issue with Percival is the fact that he is our highest paid arm in the pen, and he has contributed a grand total of 6 saves.  Even those 6 were not pretty  to watch.  In my very non proffesional opinion, Percie is done.

The Burrell signing has been a disaster at best, especially when considering that we signed him before the Angels signed Bobby Abreu (.304 AVG, 18 SB, .844 OPS) and the Nats signed Adam Dunn (22 HR, 60 RBI, .927 OPS).  Both of those guys are providing positive contributions to their team, while Burrell has brought nada.  His OPS of .661 is vomit inducing. We brought “The Bat” in to provide some power in the middle of our lineup from the right side of the plate, but instead he has been a black hole.

Burrell  - 2 years, 16 mil

Dunn – 2 years, 20 mil

Abreu – 1 years, 5 mil

A definite stain on the resume of Mr. Andrew Friendmans otherwise polished set of transactions.

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Tags: Adam Dunn Andrew Friedman Ben Zobrist Bobby Abreu James Shields Jason Bartlett JP Howell Pat Burrell Troy Percival

  • kcroberts

    No love for Crawford? I mean I love Zobrist’s amazing breakthrough season but Crawford is lighting it up. 38 RBI’s from the 2 spot which is good for 5th in the Majors, 8 HR which is good for 5th too, #1 in runs scored, and #8 in BA (all compared to 2 hitters). And his 44 stolen bases is 7 more than the next best and he successfully steals 33% of the time he gets on base.

  • pewterplank

    There is plenty of love for CC here! It wasn’t a knock on CC that he isn’t here, it was just the timely hitting of the now indispensable Zobrist that led me to give him this award.

  • flavadave

    Coming off a year where we had 0 .300 hitters…its kind of crazy how improved we are statistically in that aspect. We are a damn good, YOUNG baseball team. Its a shame that we’re in a division where winning 90 games assures us of nothing and almost guarantees us missing the playoffs.

    No complaints with Gorilla Zoe as MVP, though keep in mind just how good Longoria was pre-injury and Bartlett having a career year.

    Shields is having ridiculously poor run support. He should be leading the AL in wins right now. I just dont get it. Its not even like he is consistently facing the other teams #1…just bad luck.

    I hated the Pat Burrell signing from the get go and thats when i thought he would have a good year this year. I just thought tying up that much money in someone hitting .250 was not worth it. I thought we had at least 4 20+HR guys (Pena, Longo, Upton, Aybar as everyday DH) and didnt need to spend that way. Would have rather used that money to lock up BJ & Garza.