St. Petersburg Times
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Schedule
The Trop
The Trop
Getting to the Trop
Best routes
Parking
Interactive
Rays forum
The art of pitching
Links
Devil Rays' official home site
Talk baseball in our Devil Rays forum



Print storySubscribe to the Times

Huff the easy MVP pick

By MARC TOPKIN
Published September 28, 2003

The debate over the annual league MVP awards could be settled by a good English teacher, because it often comes down to the definition of the phrase Most Valuable Player.

Some voters consider the player who has the Most outstanding performance. Others (including this one) put more weight on the Valuable part, considering how vital the player is to his team and what his team accomplished. The defining question becomes: Where would that team be without that player?

With the Devil Rays, no matter how you look at it, there is really no debate or question: Aubrey Huff is their MVP.

Sure, Lance Carter had a hand in 32 of the 62 wins, but his fingerprints were on too many losses. Victor Zambrano had 10 of the starters' 35 wins but was way too inconsistent. Rocco Baldelli and Carl Crawford both impact a lineup, but neither yet produces enough runs.

Huff has had the best all-around season of any Devil Ray in history, taking or threatening a handful of team records while piling up dazzling numbers: .310, 34 homers, 106 RBIs, 90 runs, 46 doubles, 348 total bases. He personally accounted for 22.9 percent of their runs. For those who snicker and say that's a relative achievement, look around the leagues; you won't find but a handful of players who've done better.

Not bad for a 26-year-old, in his first full major-league season, playing a new position, with little support behind him in the lineup.

By any definition, most valuable.

TOP ROOKIE: Baldelli is the best of an impressive Tampa Bay crop. He may not have the polish of, say, someone who played 10 years in Japan, but his combination of hitting, speed, defense and baseball acumen make it very clear - trophy or not - that he is, and will be, a special player.

MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE: Carter's ability to handle the vacant closer's role was one of the most important, and least written-about, developments. As manager Lou Piniella said, "How many rookies do you see step into the closer's role and save 25 games? If Lance hadn't pitched the way he pitched, I don't know where those 60-something wins would come from."

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Besides Greg Vaughn (who was done), Seth McClung and Rey Ordonez (who were hurt) and Ben Grieve (who was both), it would have to be Joe Kennedy. From one of the promising young left-handed starters in the game to middle reliever in six months.

[Last modified September 28, 2003, 01:49:44]

Today's lineup
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Other sports

Baseball
  • AL: Tigers can only tie Mets
  • Astros left to ponder what went wrong
  • Marlins' Lowell expecting to play
  • NL: Thome still giving fans good show
  • Wrigley has a winner
  • No sure things for major awards

  • Boxing
  • Fight Night

  • College football
  • USF Game balls
  • Kentucky assists Florida's big rally
  • Ugly win for a start
  • Warmup act falls flat for Seminoles
  • ACC: Full participation required
  • Carolina native puts on a show for home fans
  • FSU By the numbers
  • FSU Game balls
  • Two yearly doses of FSU-UM feasible
  • Gator 'just catches' it to set up winning TD
  • Impassive to impassioned
  • UF By the numbers
  • UF Game balls
  • Razorbacks rally for OT win
  • Ducks are done in by mistakes
  • Beleaguered Army program and fans can't catch a break
  • USF better at the home of defense
  • USF By the numbers

  • Conferences
  • ACC: Cavs win it with two late field goals
  • Big East: Hokies diversify scoring in rout
  • Nation: Air Force earns rare win at BYU
  • State: Turnovers hurt UCF in defeat
  • Big Ten: Opening burst lifts Spartans to upset
  • Big XII: Local grad, versatile QB propel Kansas past Missouri
  • SEC: Volunteers pushed to brink in OT win
  • C-USA: Louisville hangs on without QB
  • Pac-10: California shocks Trojans in three overtimes

  • Cycling
  • No road too long for aspiring rider

  • Golf
  • Armor matches 54-hole record

  • In brief
  • Mineshaft dominant again

  • Motorsports
  • Earnhardt at ease at Talladega
  • Migraine brings down Stewart
  • Raikkonen gets 2nd career pole

  • NFL
  • NFL predictions
  • Stewart feels chill in Windy City
  • Clarett's case backed, attacked in pro ranks

  • NHL
  • Wallin lifts Minnesota to victory in overtime

  • Opinion
  • Rant, Rave

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report
  • Fall is a good time to get out

  • Preps
  • Cobras avenge preseason loss
  • Lancers' first TD pass the difference
  • Runner draws on emotion

  • Soccer
  • Germans finish round unbeaten

  • Volleyball
  • Caffeine-infused volleyball
  • Letters: Excuse us, but the Yankees are better than the Rays
  • Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
     


     Devil Rays Forums
    From The Wire
  • Players, teams start rush to settle in arbitration
  • AP source: Yankees sign free agent RHP Kuroda
  • AP source: Pineda, Montero in Yanks-Mariners swap
  • Resop, Pirates agree to a one-year deal
  • Zambrano says he's happy with trade to Marlins
  • Report: UK police officer loses Olympics documents
  • Jayhawks send Baylor to first loss of season
  • No. 1 Syracuse at 20-0 after 71-63 win over Pitt
  • Fisher's late 3 pushes Lakers past Mavericks 73-70
  • Westbrook's 3s lead Thunder past Celtics 97-88
  • Djokovic, Williams into Australian Open 2nd round
  • Tebow has earned starting status in 2012
  • Filly Havre de Grace wins Horse of the Year
  • Crosby to meet with specialist as symptoms linger
  • AP Top 25: Syracuse stays on top for 6th week