Tampa Bay Rays Replacements for Departed Stars are Holding Their Own

John GreggContributor IIIApril 16, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 15:  Shortstop Reid Brignac #15 of the Tampa Bay Rays attempts to turn a double play as outfielder Delmon Young #21 of the Minnesota Twins breaks it up during the game at Tropicana Field on April 15, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Former Rays LF Carl Crawford's abysmal start to 2011 culminated with a chorus of boos from the Fenway faithful Friday night in Boston. This was followed by Terry Francona removing him from the lineup Saturday to help him recapture his focus.

It's gotten pretty bad for Crawford, who seems to be having difficulty adjusting to life in Beantown.

But Crawford isn't the only ex-Rays player who has struggled out of the gate. In fact, nearly all of the big name players the Rays lost this offseason are being outproduced by their lesser-known, lower costing replacements.

At the very least, the production by the new starters in Tampa Bay is no worse than the output of their predecessors. This is pretty impressive considering the awful start that the Rays and their offense got off to.

Here is a look at how Crawford, Carlos Pena, Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza and Rafael Soriano have done to start the year versus their replacements in Tampa Bay.

Carl Crawford (Red Sox): .137 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 9 K, 2 SB 1 XBH 

Sam Fuld (Rays): .366 AVG, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 7 R, 7 SB (AL Leader), 1.109 OPS (and quite possibly the catch of the year)


Carlos Pena (Cubs): .200 AVG, .351 OBP, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 0 R, 11 K

Dan Johnson (Rays): .149 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R (game-winning HR to give Rays first win after an 0-6 start)


Jason Bartlett (Padres): .132 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 SB, 2 R, 1 E

Reid Brignac (Rays): .207 AVG, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3 E


Matt Garza (Cubs): 0-2, 1.75 WHIP, 27 H (NL Leader), 6.27 ERA, 12.1 K/9

Jeremy Hellickson (Rays): 1-1, 1.64 WHIP, 4.09 ERA, 9.0 K/9


Rafael Soriano (Yankees): 1.50 WHIP, 7.71 ERA, 3 BB, 4.1 IP

Kyle Farnsworth (Rays): 0.94 WHIP, 1.69 ERA, 3 SV, 9.0 K/9

This is a very small sample size. But to date the talk of the Rays being unable to replace their offseason losses has not shown to be true.


Some Random Musings

*I'm predicting a sellout July 3 against the Cardinals. Not because Albert Pujols will be in town, but because the Wiggles will.

For those of you who don't have pre-schoolers, The Wiggles are a popular Australian kids group with their own TV show. My 3-year-old daughter loves them.

The Rays announced the booking this week as part of their postgame Summer Concert Series. Getting to see The Wiggles and the Rays for the price of one admission is a good bargain for parents looking for an economical family outing on Fourth of July weekend.

*You may have noticed that Felipe Lopez has been hitting clean-up recently, and wondering why? I am too. If you could shed some light on this...I'd love to know.

*It's too soon to stick a fork in Jeff Niemann, but if he is still struggling in June, Alex Torres (10.1 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 17 K's at AAA Durham) would be the most likely long-term replacement. Andy Sonnastine would be the short-term solution.

*The Rays were 0-6 with Manny Ramirez on the team and 6-2 since. I'm just saying.