Welcome back baseball fans. I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. I am happy to be back with you all as we continue our 2012 season reviews.
Tampa Bay Rays (90-72) Third Place American League East
Winning 90 games and missing the playoffs just isn't fair, especially with the added Wild Card for the 2012 season, but that is exactly what happened to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. The Rays missed the playoffs by 3 games, but the team played great for Manager John Madden all year. The amazing seasons from the Baltimore Orioles kept them out of the playoffs. The Rays pitching staff was great throughout the year and the offense was also above average.
Pitchers- The Rays starting staff is the backbone of the team, as the starting staff goes, the Rays go. The amazing staff is led by David Price. David Price is a dude. Price led the Rays with 20 wins and a 2.56 ERA. For his efforts in 2012, Price took home the American League Cy Young, finishing ahead of Justin Verlander. Price is not the only "ace" on the Rays staff, as James Shields was once again spectacular in 2012. Shields led the Rays in strike outs with 223. Shields also put together 15 wins and a 3.52 ERA for the Rays and led the team in starts and innings. Jeremy Hellickson was also great for the Rays. The youngster made 31 starts and sported a 3.10 ERA. For as good as Hellickson was, he only accumulated 10 wins. Matt Moore, another youngster, made 31 starts and put together a pretty good season with 11 wins and a 3.81 ERA. The future of the Rays starting staff is bright as James Shields is the eldest at age 30. The big surprise of the season came from the back end of the bullpen. After closer Kyle Farnsworth went down early in the season, ex-Tiger Fernando Rodney became the closer. As Tiger, Rodney found himself as an inconsistent reliever and was let go. Rodney has found a home in Tampa Bay as he was ridiculous converting 48 saves in 50 chances. Rodney had a stunning 0.60 ERA, leading all relievers in baseball.
Infield- Evan Longoria is really good, the questions surrounding Longoria is whether or not he can stay healthy for a full year. In 2012, Longoria only played in 74 games. In his 74 games, hit 17 home runs and drove in 55 runs. The surprise of the year in the infield came from utility man Jeff Keppinger. Keppinger batted .325 playing numerous infield spots during the year. First basemen Carlos Pena was happy to be back in Tampa Bay after spending one year in Chicago but did not play any better for the Rays as he only batted .197 with 19 home runs in 160 games. Pena also struck out 182 times. The middle of the infield was was not very good at the dish with a lot of guys finding there way into the line up. At catcher, Jose Molina was not very good hitting, but his defense has always been great.
Outfield- Ben Zobrist led the outfield with a .270 average and 20 home runs. Zobrist is an all around player and plays not only outfield, but can find himself playing numerous infield spots. Zobrist led the Rays in doubles and runs with 39 and 88 respectively. BJ Upton was pretty good for the Rays, but only put together a .246 average. Upton led the Rays in home runs with 28 and in runs batted in with 78. Upton also led the Rays in stolen bases with 31. Youngster Desmond Jennings was pretty average for the Rays. He tied Upton with 31 steals, and actually batted .246, the same as Upton. Jennings was only able to scrounge up 13 home runs and some would consider it to be a little bit of a disappointing season for Jennings.
Twitter Account of the Day : Cy Young Award winning pitcher, David Price. Follow him @DAVIDprice14 and congratulate him on his Cy Young. After the news this morning, let's add Evan Longoria to the Twitter Account of the Day and let's congratulate him on his contract extension. Follow him @Evan3Longoria
Don't forget to check in with us tonight as we give you an update on all the free agent news and check back all week as we continue our reviews of the 2012 season.