The Man, The Myth, The Zorilla

Trop TalkContributor IMay 10, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 19: Shortstop Ben Zobrist #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays scores a run against the Chicago White Sox April 19, 2009 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Should Zobrist be the everyday RF? (AP)

Should Zobrist Be the Everyday RF? (AP)

I did not know what to think of this season about Ben Zobrist until I heard his wife’s song during his first at-bat and thought, what the hell? Something about Christian Rock as an intro makes me want to listen to a Creed album. So far, Ben has become a crucial part of this team coming off the bench as an offensive source.

Benzo is batting .281 with 5 homeruns and 13 RBI in only 64 at-bats. With these numbers fans ask the question: Why play the Gabe’s? I find myself questioning Joe Maddon’s decision as well.

The facts of Maddon’s decision comes down to Zobrist’s ability to play seven different positions on the field. Keeping him on the bench is a safe bet in case an injury occurs. But with the talent and depth of the organization’s Minor League systems, Ben should be a starter till Matt Joyce and/or Desmond Jennings is ready, or he shows he can not handle an everyday job.

Let's look at more stats coming from the RF position:
Gabe Gross: .265, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 49 at-bats
Gabe Kapler: .222, 0 HRs, 0 RBI, 45 at-bats

Now, Gross and Kaplar do have less AB’s than Zobrist, but in those at-bats they do not accumulate anything for the Rays. The order already has B.J. Upton and Dioner Navarro struggling at the dish. With the offense already a coin flip almost every game, the Rays need more consistency. But inevitably, it is Papa Joe’s decision.

All I know is that because of Ben Zobrist, I own a new Christian Rock CD and am probably going to buy a new jersey.


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