After beating the Red Sox 3-1 in game seven of the ALCS, it’s the Tampa Bay don’t-call-me-Devil Rays that will face the Phillies in the 2008 World Series.

I kinda miss the flying manta ray, although it did seem a little random.

Here’s a look at the offense that Tampa Bay has gotten by position this year in comparison to other teams in the AL and in MLB and at some of the players we should expect to see in the World Series:

POS OPS AL Rank MLB Rank
C .729 5 12

Switch-hitter Dioner Navarro seems likely to see most of the time behind the plate for the Rays in the World Series. Navarro hit 295/349/407 for Tampa Bay in the regular season. He is 11-for-41 (268/318/341) in the post-season, with three doubles and a pair of triples.

He was a better hitter against righties than lefties in the regular season, hitting 312/365/412 against righties and 257/314/413 against lefties.

POS OPS AL Rank MLB Rank
1B .855 5 10

Lefty Carlos Pena played just over 80% of the innings at first base for Tampa Bay in 2008. Willy Aybar played the position about 11% of the time.

Pena hit 247/377/494 in the regular season. He is 12-for-36 (333/442/611) with a double, two home runs and seven walks in the post-season.

He struggles badly against left-handed pitching. He hit 280/418/576 against righties this year and just 190/302/352 against lefties.

POS OPS AL Rank MLB Rank
2B .741 7 16

Akinori Iwamura is a fixture at second base for Tampa Bay. He played about 92% of the innings there this season. The lefty hit 274/349/380 in 627 at-bats for the season. Among the 83 AL players with at least 450 plate appearances, his .380 slugging percentage was 73rd.

He is 13-for-47 (277/358/447) in the post-season with three doubles, a triple, a home run and six walks.

The lefty Iwamura is much better against righties than lefties. In 2008 he hit 280/356/400 against righties and 260/335/333 against lefties.

POS OPS AL Rank MLB Rank
3B .863 2 5

Evan Longoria gives the Rays tremendous offense out of the third base position. Aybar has also seen some time at third this year, but the position belongs to Longoria.

Longoria is a right-handed hitter who hit 272/343/531 this season. The 22-year-old rookie pumped out 27 home runs in just 448 at-bats. He has kept his power stroke up through the post-season, going 11-for-42 (262/340/762) with three doubles and six home runs.

He hit righties better than lefties this season. 284/350/540 against righties and 242/321/508 against left-handed pitching.

POS OPS AL Rank MLB Rank
SS .712 6 16

Jason Bartlett and Ben Zobrist have shared time at short this season, with Bartlett getting the vast majority of the playing time (75% of the innings for Bartlett, 20% for Zobrist). Bartlett will almost surely get just about all the time in the World Series.

Bartlett hit 286/329/361 in 454 at-bats this season. Among the 83 AL players with at least 450 plate appearances, his .361 slugging percentage is 77th.

In the post-season he is 9-for-32 (243/317/405).

Bartlett is a right-handed hitter who is awful (248/296/301) against right-handed pitching. He fared much better against lefties, hitting 379/411/508. The switch-hitter Zobrist had just 198 at-bats for the season and hit just .239 against righties, but while batting left against right-handed pitching had 15 extra-base hits (including nine home runs) in just 134 plate appearances. He slugged .538 against righties as a left-handed hitter.

POS OPS AL Rank MLB Rank
LF .719 11 24

Carl Crawford will see just about all the time in left for Tampa Bay. Crawford had his worst offensive year since 2003, hitting 273/319/400 in 443 at-bats. Eric Hinske, who also saw time in the Rays outfield and in left, was not on the roster for the ALCS.

Crawford is 13-for-43 (302/348/395) with two doubles, a triple and six stolen bases in the post-season.

A left-handed batter, Crawford was much better this season against righties than lefties. He hit 285/330/424 against righties and just 248/293/348 against lefties. Among 62 AL players with at least 150 plate appearances against lefties, Crawford’s .641 OPS was 59th.

POS OPS AL Rank MLB Rank
CF .748 7 16

Red hot BJ Upton will be in center field for the Rays. Upton hit just 273/383/401 with nine home runs in 531 regular season at-bats, but has gone 14-for-46 (304/365/826) with a double, a triple, a walk and seven home runs in the post-season.

Upton and Longoria are a combined 25-for-88 (.284) with 13 home runs since the end of the regular season. At that rate they would hit about 74 home runs over 500 at-bats.

Upton is a right-handed hitter who hit about the same against lefties and righties this year. 275/369/400 against righties and 271/418/406 against lefties. He got on base a lot more against lefties, but hit to about the same average and slugging percentage.

25-year-old rookie Fernando Perez also saw some time in the outfield and in center in September for Tampa. Perez got just 60 at-bats on the year, hitting 250/348/433. The switch-hitter is 1-for-9 with a single in the post-season (111/111/111). If we see him in the World Series it’s a lot more likely it will be in right than in center.

POS OPS AL Rank MLB Rank
RF .771 10 18

Gabe Gross got about 52% of the innings in right for Tampa Bay this season, with Hinske and Jonny Gomes there also factors for the Rays. Hinske and Gomes probably won’t be a factor in the series, but Rocco Baldelli started in right in game seven of the ALCS and Perez is a possibility.

Gross is a left-handed hitter who can’t hit lefties and has been terrible in the post-season. He hit 238/336/414 in 345 at-bats between Milwaukee and Tampa Bay this year. He’s just 1-for-16 (063/211/063) with a single and three walks in the post-season.

He’s miserable against lefties, just 191/247/338 on the year. Much better against right-handed pitching, 249/356/433.

Baldelli could be the answer for Tampa Bay in right against lefties. Baldelli is a right-handed hitter who missed most of ’08 and hit 263/344/475 in 80 at-bats.

Baldelli is 3-for-14 (214/313/429) with a home run in the post-season. Over his career he’s hit 296/347/494 against lefties and 276/316/427 against righties.

Zobrist also made an appearance in right in the ALCS despite playing just seven innings there during the regular season.

POS OPS AL Rank MLB Rank
DH .760 8 13

Lefty Cliff Floyd likely will be getting the call when the Rays need a DH in the series. Floyd is a left-handed hitter that doesn’t do well against lefties, so Aybar or Baldelli may see time in the DH games that are started by Hamels or Moyer.

Floyd hit 268/349/455 this season. He’s 3-for-15 with a double and a home run (200/200/467) in the post-season.

He doesn’t even get a chance to hit against lefties — he had just 12 plate appearances against them this season.

Aybar is a switch-hitter who appeared most often at third for Tampa Bay this season, but also saw time at first, second and made two appearances at shortstop. He has gotten a ton of at-bats in the post-season, going 11-for-30 (367/355/633) with two doubles and two home runs (and no walks).

Aybar was better against lefties this season, hitting 266/350/444 against them and an unimpressive 245/312/390 against righties.

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