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2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays

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[edit] 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays / Franchise: Tampa Bay Devil Rays / BR Team Page

Record: 66-96, Finished 5th in AL Eastern Division (2007 AL)

Managed by Joe Maddon

Ballpark: Tropicana Field

[edit] History, Comments, Contributions

The 2007 Devil Rays improved five games over the performance by the 2006 Devil Rays. Although the team was by far the youngest in the league, there were signs of promise for the future.

The team as a whole had an average age of only 25.9, while the second-youngest team in the league was 28.0.

1B Carlos Pena had a big break-out year, hitting 46 homers (good for second in the league) with 121 RBI. Other than DH Greg Norton, Pena was the oldest of the regulars at age 29.

There were several youngsters who provided major value and promise for the future. B.J. Upton, only 22, hit 24 home runs (second on the team) and hit .300. He started the season at second base, but made 12 errors in 48 games there; moved to center field he showed good range and played much better. Delmon Young, only 21 years old, hit 38 doubles and drove in 93 runs. Dioner Navarro won the regular job at catcher at age 23. And Carl Crawford, already an established star at age 25 with five previous seasons under his belt, hit .315 with 50 stolen bases.

The pitching staff was last in the league in ERA (their 5.53 ERA was more than a point over the league ERA of 4.52), but a couple of starters had winning records and decent ERAs. Scott Kazmir went 13-9 with a 3.48 ERA, and James Shields went 12-8 with a 3.85 ERA. The bullpen was an absolute disaster area, however, posting the highest ERA (6.16) of any relief corps in modern history. In fact, the 2007 Devil Rays probably had the worst bullpen ever, having allowed an OPS 39 percent higher than the league average; collectively, Tampa's relievers were 4.6 wins worse than the replacement level according to WAR.

Manager Joe Maddon, in his second year as Devils Rays manager, improved by five games. The Devil Rays stated that the next year's payroll would be increased in order to keep core players on the team, so the future could indeed be promising. Indeed, one year later the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays completed one of the best single-season turnarounds in baseball history, improving from 66 to 97 wins and winning the American League pennant before losing the 2008 World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies. From 2008 through 2012, the Rays would go on to win 56.5 percent of their games, better than any AL team except the New York Yankees.

[edit] Awards and Honors


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