The Tampa Bay Rays excelled at run prevention in 2008, with a solid pitching staff and excellent team defense. The Rays’ defensive unit, in fact, posted the majors’ highest defensive efficiency rating, converting a higher percentage of batted balls in play into outs than any team in the game.
With that being said, it is no surprise that Tampa Bay had several players recognized in the recently released Fielding Bible Awards.
Carl Crawford was the only Rays player to win an award outright, though, as he was voted the premier defensive left fielder in the league.
Evan Longoria was voted as the second-best third baseman, behind Adrian Beltre of the Seattle Mariners, Carlos Pena came in fourth for first baseman and Dioner Navarro placed in seventh for catchers.
Shortstop Jason Bartlett, who helped solidify the Rays’ middle infield after coming over from an offseason deal with the Minnesota Twins, received 13 votes at shortstop. Bartlett was voted as Team M.V.P. by the local chapter of the BBWAA, in large part to due to his outstanding range and defensive excellence.
Gabe Gross (right field), Akinori Iwamura (second base), Andy Sonnanstine (pitcher) and B.J. Upton (center field) also received votes.
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