Tampa Bay's unheralded stars

The Rays should no longer be seen as a pitching-and-defense-only squad

Updated: July 8, 2013, 4:57 PM ET
By Paul Swydan | ESPN Insider

Evan LongoriaJ. Meric/Getty ImagesEvan Longoria is not the only Ray who is not getting enough attention for his fine season.

Ever since the Tampa Bay Rays became a contending team back in 2008, they have had a reputation as a pitching-and-defense team. It's a reputation that was never more apparent than last season, when the team finished third in pitching WAR.

This season though, Tampa, which moved up two spots this week to No. 11 in the ESPN Power Rankings, showed that it has plenty of thunder on offense as well, and it might be time to rethink that reputation.

It seems as if the Rays have gone from Internet darlings to fairly passé recently, and nowhere is this better exemplified than in the person of Evan Longoria. He has long been one of the best players in the game, but injuries kept him from amassing bulk stats last season. He was still productive when he played, as his .378 wOBA can attest, but it was in only 74 games. This season, he has already played 85 games and has matched the 17 homers he hit last season.


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