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Rays

Rays preview: Interesting team facts

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 02:09 AM

1. According to the Bill James Handbook, Ben Zobrist is the plus/minus leader for second baseman (plus-56) over the past three seasons, meaning he has saved 56 more runs than the average second baseman.

2. Evan Longoria led major league third basemen in 2011 in putouts (124) and double plays started (35).

3. The Blue Jays were eight games above .500 in 2011 with catcher Jose Molina in the lineup and eight games under .500 when he didn't play.

4. Jeremy Hellickson held opposing hitters to a major league-low .224 batting average on balls put into play.

5. Matt Joyce is a natural right-hander, who does everything right-handed expect bat.

6. The last 165 Rays games were started by pitchers drafted and developed by the organization.

7. In eight games for the 2005 Itawamba (Miss.) Community College football team, Desmond Jennings caught 54 passes (the most in the nation) for 848 yards (15.7 yards per catch) and six touchdowns.

8. In 2009, J.P. Howell was named to the All-State All-Decade High School Baseball Team by CalHiSports.com along with Cole Hamels, Ryan Braun, Aaron Hill and Player of the Decade Delmon Young.

9. At 5-foot-10, Sam Fuld was the shortest Ray in 2011. Jeff Niemann, of course, was the tallest at 6-9.

10. Kyle Farnsworth plays professional paintball for the Tampa Bay Damage and participated in the Paintball World Cup last October in Polk City.

11. At 11 years, Tom Foley is the longest-tenured third base coach in the American League and the second-longest in baseball behind the Cardinals Jose Oquendo (12th season).

12. First base coach George Hendrick won the Silver Slugger Award at two positions: outfield (1980) and first base (1983).

13. Jeff Keppinger struck out 24 times last season. Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs, who led the majors with 205 strikeouts in 2011, struck out 24 times in an 11-game span.

14. Carlos Peña has hit more combined home runs against the Yankees (18) and Red Sox (21) than any player in the last five years.

15. David Price was the first pitcher since Melido Perez of the Yankees in 1992 to have 200 strikeouts, 200 innings pitched and a sub-3.50 ERA and a losing record in the same season.

16. Led by 13 from James Shields, Rays pitchers picked off 22 runners last season, tied with the White Sox for most in the major leagues.

17. Led by 249 1/3 innings from Shields, the Rays rotation led the majors with 1,058 innings, most by a rotation since the 2005 White Sox.

18. Line them up in alphabetical order and of the 934 players who appeared in the major leagues last year, Ben Zobrist was last.

19. B.J. Upton has made starts (579) than any AL center fielder over the past four seasons. His 1,582 chances during that span is tops in the majors.

20. Fernando Rodney has a necklace that holds the teeth of some of the fish he has caught.

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