The Rays weren't expected to contend for the playoffs until the products of their stacked farm system could establish themselves in the majors, maybe in 2009 or 2010. But the Rays have arrived ahead of schedule with just one major new contributor from that system -- presumptive Rookie of the Year Evan Longoria.
Despite winning the tough American League East, however, they're not the strongest team in the AL heading into the playoffs.
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