Tampa Bay Rays Midseason Grades

By Dustin Staggers

MVP 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

Cy 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.