Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rays and their All-Star chances


It’s getting to be that time of the year again. We are just about a month away from the 2009 All-Star game at the new Busch Stadium, and what better way to get things kicked off around here then to assess the chances of some of our beloved Rays and being invited to join the party in The STL. But before I begin, let me introduce myself. I am Cougar Bait. The name explains itself; however, it does NOT apply to the "cougar" who posts on this site. I'm a lifelong Devil Rays/Rays fan, born and raised in the Tampa Bay area. I once met Evan Longoria in a bar, touched him on the shoulder, and said "good game". He said "thanks". I also witnessed him call a group of girls who cut him in the bathroom line "sluts". My life is complete. Now back to the All Star stuff....

The way I see it, none of our pitchers really have a shot because all of them have been too inconsistent. Matt Garza has the best shot of anyone, but he has started to look shaky in his past few starts and has too much competition ahead of him to get the nod. One thing on the Rays side is the fact that they are the reigning A.L. champions, and thus, Joe Maddon is the A.L. All Star manager. After the fans (Boston and New York) vote in all the best players (Yankees or Red Sox, regardless of talent {see Jeter, Derek}) as the starter, Maddon is assigned the task of picking the reserves. This could bode well for Tampa. Let’s take a quick look at the players deserving of a trip to STL.

1b - Carlos Pena - The reigning AL Gold Glove winner at first base, 'Los is leading the league in HRs with 21, is 7th in RBI, 2nd in walks, 3rd in runs scored, and 8th in slugging. What he doesn't have going for him is that he does not play for the Yankees or Red Sox. Kevin Youkilis currently leads the race by the slimmest of margins over Mark Teixeira. Youkilis missed a month of the season already and barely cracks the top 10 for first baseman in most offensive categories. If he makes it, Pena doesn't have a good chance with Tex and Justin Mourneau having great years. However, if Teixeia slides past Youkilis, Pena may be able to sneak his way in.

Chances: 33%

2b - Ben "Zorilla" Zobrist - This is an interesting debate right now. Zobrist has been on fire basically the entire year so far. Once Aki went down for the year, Zorilla stepped in and exceeded everyone’s expectations. With most of his time now spent at second, one would have to assume this is where he would be selected to play. There isn't a chance in hell he is voted in to start, mostly because of the fact that 95% of people have no idea who he is, and that he isn't even on the ballot. But this is where Mr. Maddon comes in to play. Zorilla is currently leading the league in slugging percentage.....yes, you read that correct. He is 3rd in HRs, 5th in RBI, 4th in avg, and tops in OBP among second basemen. Kinsler is leading the votes right now by about 200,000 over that little horse jockey on the Red Sox. Aaron Hill is also enjoying a breakout season in Toronto and rightfully deserves a spot on the team. That most likely leaves 1 spot for either Zobrist, Cano, or the Jockey. I would pay money to see the faces of Red Sox Nation when Joe Maddon announces Zorilla as a reserve second baseman over Mr. MVP.

Chances: If Gabe Kapler can hit a home run in 4 straight games, then Zobrist can make the All-Star Game. Oh look, a pig just flew by.....

SS - Jason Bartlett - Barty was well on his way to being named to the All-Star game before going on the DL, but in his 2 games back he hasn't missed a beat. Although his stint on the DL took away the plate appearances he needs to qualify for the batting title, technicalities aside, he is still 1st among shortstops with a .373 average, 2nd in the AL to Joe Mauer who is hitting....wait, .425??? That has to be an error. Let’s just say Barty is leading the league. His defense is nearly flawless and if clutchness was a factor he would be way up there too. Since there is really no point in even voting for the starter every year since Derek Jeter is still alive, it comes down to Maddon's choice for backups. This is likely one of the easiest choices he will have to make.

Chances: 95%

3b - Evan Longoria - The leading AL vote getter with over a million more votes than A-Roid. There is no point in even debating this.....

Chances: 115%

OF - B.J. Up......ha, just kidding. No

OF - Carl Crawford - Crawford has enjoyed a bounce back season after a sub-par 2008. He is batting .313, and has 36 steals already. He is also 2nd in runs scored, which is important because those are what win games. The one thing going against Crawford is the competition. Ancient players such as Johnny Damon and Torii with 2 I's Hunter are having career years, and then there is always that Japanese guy who wears his first name on his jersey and never seems to hit below .350. But things look good for CC right now. He is 4th in voting behind Jason Bay, Josh Hamilton, and Ichiro. If the voting stays the way it is, CC may have a chance of not only making the game, but sliding in to a starting spot to fill the void left by Hamilton, who I assume will not be healthy enough to play.

Chances: 85%

Don't forget to go to MLB.com and vote for our Rays! Hopefully the 20 or so of you who read this blog before the deadline can make a difference.

2 comments:

  1. cougars are dangerousJune 19, 2009 at 4:18 PM

    You have oversold Zorilla's numbers. He does lead the league in slugging, but the rest of those rankings are just his ranking on the team. Way to mess up your first post, cougar bait.

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  2. Those are his rankings compared to second baseman....which is where he would be selected to play in the all star game. check your facts my friend

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