Tampa Bay Rays Players of the Decade: #3 Ben Zobrist
By Austin Reimann
Ben Zobrist was without a doubt one of the three best players to wear the Rays uniform this decade.
Ben Zobrist began his big league career with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2006. He would wear a Rays uniform for nine seasons and leave as one of the most revered Rays in franchise history. He was the epitome of the “Rays Way”, playing practically wherever he was needed and hitting from both sides of the plate.
This decade he played in over 700 games, amassed more than 28 wins above replacement and helped lead the Rays during their most successful stretch in franchise history. The only position player to be more productive this decade for the Rays is Evan Longoria.
Ben Zobrist’s Numbers this Decade w/ Rays (’10-’14):
- 767 G
- .775 OPS // 119 OPS+
- 72 HR // 363 RBI
Playing half of this decade with the Rays, Ben Zobrist was as reliable as a player can get. During his time with the Rays this decade, he played in 95% of regular season games, or 767 of a possible 810 games.
As for accolades, Zobrist was a two-time all-star with the Rays, once in 2009 and again in 2013. During this decade, he finished in the top-20 of MVP voting twice, finishing 16th in 2011 and 18th in 2012.
In total, he was worth 28.1 bWAR from 2010 through 2014. In 2011 he was worth 7.6 wins and from 2012 to 2014, he was worth five of more wins each season.
Despite playing in only 62 games in 2008, Zorilla, as he was known during his time here, was a part of the core that first brought success to Tampa Bay Rays fans and for that he will always be remembered.
During this decade, he made an appearance at every position except for pitcher and catcher. He had a pair of 20 homerun seasons. His on base percentage never dipped below .346 and in 2011 he racked up 46 doubles. In 2010, he stole 24 bases and he nearly had a pair of 100 walk seasons (92-2010, 97-2012).
Zobrist could literally do a bit of everything and was an integral part of the Rays teams that made trips to October in 2010, 2011, and 2013. Following the trade that sent him to Oakland along with Yunel Escobar, Zobrist found plenty of success winning a pair of World Series in 2015 and 2016. He was the Cubs World Series MVP, playing under Joe Maddon for the second time in his career.
Cheers to Ben Zobrist and his time in a Rays uniform this decade!