Aug 15, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) and teammates high five after they beat the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Yankees 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
4. Ben Zobrist’s RBIs Fell Because Rays Used Him More Out of Leadoff Spot
Speaking of RBIs, it has pointed out as a negative by some people that Zobrist drove in just 52 runs in 2014 after managing at least 70 RBI each year from 2009 to 2013. I can explain why, and it has nothing to do with any sort of decline in Zobrist’s game: he led off for the Rays more than ever before.
In 2014, he led off 47 times, more than he had in the previous three years combined. His previous career-high was 26 games leading off back in 2010. RBIs are a product of opportunities and those did not come often for Zobrist both because he was leading off more and because the Rays’ lineup was not exactly impressive.
Look back at the previous slide and remember that Zobrist was still a very good hitter last season. If he heads to a better offensive team and doesn’t spend most of his time in their leadoff spot, he will (for what it’s worth) get back to 70 RBIs once again in 2015.