Top 50 Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays began as an expansion team in 1998, and have been in the loaded American League East, which also houses the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.  Despite this, this is a team that is well run and has made the playoffs five times, won the division twice, and in 2008 would win the Pennant.  They did not win the World Series, but it was a massive accomplishment for them to get there.  The Rays again made the World Series in the COVID-19-reduced season but lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This list is up to the end of the 2020 season.

Note: Baseball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics, and post-season accolades.

Steven Souza Jr. played three of his five Major League seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, where he showed decent power.  Souza Jr. had 16 and 17 Home Runs in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and he would nearly double that with a 30 Home Run year in 2017.  As good as his power was, he never batted over .250, and his defense was just average.
Brandon Lowe is very early into his career but he has been very impressive thus far. Playing at Second Base, Lowe debuted in 2018, but still qualified as a rookie in 2019, where he was third in Rookie of the Year voting, batted .336 and was an All-Star.  It was an especially impressive considering that Lowe missed nearly half the season due to shin and quad issues.  In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Lowe was an All-MLB Team 2 Selection, showing that he is poised for greatness in a full season.
After two uneventful years with San Diego, Brad Boxberger was traded to the Rays, and in 2014 he had a good year coming out of the pen with a 2.37 ERA with 104 Strikeouts in 64.2 Innings.  Boxberger would be given the closer’s job when Jake McGee went down to injury, and while he had an ERA of 3.71, he led the American League in Saves with 41.
A First Round pick in 2004, Jeff Niemann would reach the main Tampa roster in 2008, and from 2009 to 2011, he was a regular on the Rays’ rotation.  In each of those seasons, Niemann had at least 11 Wins, with the first two seeing him eclipse 170 Innings Pitched.
We can understand if you think that Tanyon Sturtze doesn’t belong on this list.  After playing for the Cubs, Rangers, and White Sox, he was traded to Tampa, during the 2000 Season, and had a nice finish to the year.  Sturtze went 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA and would make the starting rotation the year after.  It was an 11-12 year, which was uneventful, but he went a dismal 4-18, and had the most Losses, Hits Allowed, Walks, and Earned Runs.  That wasn’t very good, but this was a major league starter on a team that is still young.  His…
Danys Baez was only with the Tampa Bay Rays for two seasons, but they were quality years and the best he had over his ten years in the Majors.
Playing only two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Mallex Smith’s Rays career was bookended by traded from and to the Seattle Mariners. 
Grant Balfour’s best days were with the Oakland Athletics, but the longest tenure of the Australian’s career was with the Tampa Bay Rays. 
Victor Zambrano began his Major League career with Tampa after being released from the Yankees organization in 1996.  Five years later, he made the big roster, appearing in 36 Games (all in relief), and went 6-2 with a 3.16 ERA.
Half of J.P. Howell’s MLB career was spent in a Tampa Bay uniform, and it was in the state of Florida where he had his best success.
Austin Meadows was part of the trade that sent Chris Archer to the Pirates at the 2018 Trade Deadline, and the young Outfielder is showing the skills to be the top player of the transaction. Meadows became an All-Star in 2019 on the strength of a 32 Home Run/.291/.346/.558 year where he was 14thin MVP voting. Meadows helped Tampa reach the World Series the following year, and he has the youth and power to rocket up this list if he stays healthy.
An All-Star in 2003, Lance Carter, did not even play in 2001 due to injury.  Without a home, he signed with the Rays for 2002 and reached the team for eight games.