ST. PETERSBURG -- After starting the franchise with 10 consecutive losing seasons from 1998-2008, the Rays have enjoyed one of the most successful stretches across baseball, including two World Series appearances.
During those successful seasons, the Rays had plenty of strong single-season performances by the best players in franchise history. MLB.com looks back at some of those strong performances, ranking the top five single seasons in Rays history.
1. Carlos Pena, 2007
This one was easy. Despite the Devil Rays winning just 66 games in 2007. Pena was able to deliver with undoubtedly the best single season by a position player in franchise history. He set franchise records with 46 homers, 121 RBIs and a 1.037 OPS. Pena was able to hit 28 or more homers in each of his four seasons with the Rays, but his best work came in ‘07 with the type of campaign that will be difficult to top.
2. Evan Longoria, 2009
Longoria is the best player in franchise history and 2009 was his best season with the Rays, which is why he comes in at No. 2 on this list. Longoria, who was in just his second season in the Majors, hit 33 home runs, recorded a career-high 113 RBIs and finished with a .889 OPS, the highest in his career in a full season. To top things off, Longoria earned his only Silver Slugger Award and won the first of three Gold Gloves.
3. Aubrey Huff, 2003
Huff ended up winning two World Series titles with the Giants, but his best seasons came as a member of the Rays early in his career, and his best season came in 2003. Huff hit 34 home runs, 107 RBIs and finished with a .311 batting average that season. Perhaps the most impressive part of Huff’s season, however, is the fact that he played in all 162 games and struck out just 80 times.
4. Fred McGriff, 1999
McGriff is one of the original Devil Rays players and his 1999 season was the first big campaign by a player in franchise history. McGriff hit 32 home runs, drove in 104 runs and finished with a .957 OPS.
5. Carl Crawford, 2009
Every other player on this list made it because of the fact that he hit over 30 home runs, but Crawford makes this list because of his legs, not just his bat. Crawford hit 15 home runs and hit .305 in 2009, but his 60 stolen bases make that season one of the most memorable and impressive in franchise history.
En route to those 60 stolen bases, Crawford swiped six bags in one game against the Red Sox on May 3 at Tropicana Field. The six stolen bases tied Eddie Collins, Otis Nixon and Eric Young for the most in a single game in Major League history.
Jose Canseco had a strong ‘99 season, finishing with 34 home runs, 95 RBIs and a .931 OPS. Had this list been a top six, Canseco would’ve likely made it. … Ben Zobrist had an impressive career with the Rays and ‘09 was his coming out party, as he hit 27 home runs and stole 17 bases. Zobrist was one of the most consistent and versatile Rays players, but he just missed this list. … Logan Morrison made a bid at becoming just the second Rays player to hit 40 homers in a season, but he fell just short, hitting 38 in ‘17. ... Brandon Lowe had a 39-homer, 99-RBI campaign in 2021, leading the Rays’ first 100-win club with 4.7 WAR and a 142 OPS+.