I thought this was a fun trip down memory lane. Thanks Amanda! Enjoy. ~Slow
There isn't much to talk about this week besides the terrific news that Maddon will be sticking with us for another three years. So in order to keep your attention, we decided to showcase a rarely ranked statistic: top Rays base stealer from 2000 until now. These guys made just about every opposing baseman think twice about not wearing a knee brace. Some names are no surprise, while others may make you wistful for the days when speed and stealth were necessary components of the Rays offensive strategy.
# 5 - ROCCO BALDELLI
Despite torn ligaments and other injuries that plagued him off and on throughout his time with the Rays, Baldelli managed to live up to the hype that went so far as to call him the next Joe DiMaggio. In his six seasons in Tampa between 2003 and 2010, he was able to nab an extra 59 bases under the noses of opposing teams.
# 4 – JASON BARTLETT
Bartlett's aggressive risk taking when he wore a Rays cap will be something fans of the last decade will remember for sometime. In three short seasons between 2008 and 2010, he was able to steal a total of 61 bases, and could have stolen more than 20 more for us if he hadn't gone to San Diego. It went well with that .286 batting average he carried while playing for us.
# 3 – JULIO LUGO
Lugo has spent his career moving around from team to team – playing for the Rays four seasons but only three consecutively, between 2003 and 2006. In those four seasons, he managed to steal a grand total of 88 bases, which amounts to more than 40% of his career stolen bases. In doing so, he secured his spot as the number three leader in Rays stolen bases over the last twelve years.
# 2 – B.J. UPTON
Here come the no surprises. In seven seasons with the Rays, powerhouse B.J. Upton has managed to top off his outstanding all-around career with an impressive 201 stolen bases. Between 2008 and 2010 alone he stole 128 bases, which has helped to beef up his already stellar 369 career RBIs. With many seasons left in him Upton is sure to rank as an all-time Rays base stealer among many other franchise achievements.
# 1 – CARL CRAWFORD
Base burglar extraordinaire Carl Crawford clearly takes the cake when it comes to top Tampa Bay base stealers. In 9 seasons with the Rays, the Houston native had successfully stolen 409 bases. In 2009, Crawford broke his personal record of 59 stolen bases in a single season with 60, and tied the major league record of number of stolen bases in a single game, with six. Needless to say, seeing Crawford in a Red Sox uniform is a sad sight to behold.
Base stealing used to be a core aspect of Rays offensive strategy, but has fallen out of favor in recent years. With Maddon on board for another three seasons at least, here's to hoping we see a return to speed and stealth taking on a larger role in securing Rays wins.