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Tampa Bay Rays Opening Day Countdown: 19 days to go

A couple of the top stars of the Devil Rays days donned the number 19

Aubrey Huff waits for the pitch Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

There are 19 days until Opening Day!

So, here are the players in franchise history to have donned the number 19 at some point over the past two decades:

  • Kevin Stocker (1998-2000)
  • Aubrey Huff (2001-2006)
  • Scott Kazmir (2006-2009)
  • Gabe Kapler (2010)
  • Brandon Allen (2012)
  • Ryan Roberts (2012-2013)
  • Jerry Sands (2014)
  • Curt Casali (2015-2017)

One of the more controversial players in franchise history, through no fault of his own, Kevin Stocker came to the Rays following the expansion draft for OF prospect, Bobby Abreu. Abreu enjoyed immense success, while Stocker struggled with his health and on field abilities. During his time with the Rays, Stocker accrued a total of 2.5 fWAR and hit .250/.329/.347 with 9 HR over 231 games.

Kevin Stocker

Top prospect, Aubrey Huff took over the jersey in 2001 after Stocker’s departure. Huff would endure a rough rookie season in which he performed well below replacement level, but rebounded to become one of the top players in the early years of the franchise’s history.

From 2002 to 2004, Huff had a wRC+ of 130, accruing a total of 9.6 fWAR over that time and during the 2003 season, he tied the team’s single season record for HR in a season with 34.

His production fell off during the 2005 and 2006 seasons, the latter of which, he would be traded at the deadline to the Houston Astros.

After the trade of Huff, the team’s ace Scott Kazmir took over the jersey and proceeded to dominate and carve through opposing lineups. During the 2007 season, he would lead the American League with 239 strikeouts.

When the Rays made their first ever run to the playoffs, Kazmir sat atop of the rotation and started game one of the World Series in 2008.

Unfortunately, Kazmir was plagued with injury and control problems throughout his time in Tampa Bay that prevented him from reaching an elite status. After struggling though most of the 2009 season, Kazmir would be traded to the Los Angeles Angels in August.

Since Kazmir’s deparute, a myriad of players have donned the number 19 and several have provided the team with extremely memorable moments.

After Gabe Kapler’s entertaining stay with the team in 2010, it wouldn’t be until Brandon Allen’s arrival in 2012 before the jersey was worn again.

Allen arrived with a bang as he blasted a thunderous walk-off home run during one of his first games with the club.

After Allen’s brief stay with the Rays was over, Ryan Roberts took the helm of the number 19, and then Jerry Sands followed him, and he would be soon after followed by Curt Casali, who was the last player in team history to take the number.

Casali provided the Rays with some excitement during the 2015 season as he excelled down the stretch for the Rays before an injury ended his season. At a time, he went on a HR barrage as he belted 10 HR over just 37 games.

Check back tomorrow as the countdown continues.