5. Pat Burrell playing like he’s not making an average of $8 million a year or that his nickname happens to be "The Bat."
Burrell is hitting .231 with only 12 homers and 46 RBIs, and 85 K’s. He also spent time on the DL with a neck strain. Talk about money well spent. It’s a good thing his contract was only for two years.
4. Just how badly they would be missing Edwin Jackson.
Jax has had an outstanding year for the Tigers, winning 10 games and posting a 2.86 ERA. He’s been nearly unhittable, holding opponents to a .232 BA, and his WHIP is a career best 1.19. Meanwhile, the Rays staff hasn’t had the same success and could have used him in the rotation.
3. Jason Bartlett hitting like he’s not, well, Jason Bartlett.
Bartlett had 11 homers for his career coming into this season. Right now he’s already matched those 11, and there’s still 40 more games to be played. He’s 3rd in the AL with a .343 BA and earned his first trip to the All-Star game. Wasn’t he brought in for his defense?
2. Jeff Niemann pitching like the team’s ace.
Who would have thought the 6 foot 9 right-hander would be the Rays’ most consistent starter? He leads the team with 11 wins, has the best ERA on starting staff (3.71), and has two complete-game shutouts. He’s arguably the leader to win the AL Rookie of the Year, and if won, would make it back-to-back years a Ray has accomplished the feat (Longoria).
1. Ben Zobrist is an All-Star.
"Zorilla" exceeded all expectations filling in for injured starter Aki Iwamura. He’s 3rd on the team in homers (22), RBI (67), 4th in SB (15), and first in OBP (.405). He too just made his first All-Star appearance. Also worth noting, he has only made 5 errors while playing six different positions for the Rays this year.