St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Williams proves worthy of MVP

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 1, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- Shortstop Felix Martinez has had the biggest impact of any one player on the Devil Rays this season, so much so that manager Larry Rothschild says that when Martinez doesn't make a spectacular play, you wonder what's wrong. That's valuable.

Fred McGriff has been the most productive Devil Ray, driving in a team record-tying 104 runs while scoring 81 and leading all players with a .373 on-base percentage. That's valuable.

Albie Lopez moved into the starting rotation in late May and quickly proved himself not only worthy of the assignment but capable of leading the staff, winning eight of 12 in one stretch. That's valuable.

But the most valuable Devil Ray has been Gerald Williams.

He may not be the most conventional leadoff hitter, but he has given the Rays tremendous production from that spot. He may not be the smoothest centerfielder, but his play this season has been a stark improvement over what the Rays had. He may not say much (or at least much that isn't a bit, um, out there), but he brings energy and intensity and focus and by-example leadership.

Williams has hit more home runs (21) than he ever has before, driven in more runs (89) and scored more runs (86). He leads the Rays in hits, runs, at-bats, total bases, doubles and infield hits. He has gone hitless in back-to-back games only twice all season. He ranks fourth in the American League with a .563 average with the bases loaded.

Most valuable.

OUTSTANDING ROOKIE: There really wasn't much competition, but even if there was, Steve Cox would be a strong choice. He barely played in the first half and often played out of position in the second, but it never affected his hitting. He's had two seven-game hitting streaks, hit 10 homers and tops all AL rookies with 44 walks.

MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE: Nobody knew much about Martinez when the Rays brought him up in May, and what they did know was bad, stemming from temper-control problems he had with Kansas City. He has turned out to be a spectacular fielder, a modest offensive contributor and not a bit of a problem.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Vinny Castilla was hurt, then he struggled, then he was hurt, then he struggled, then he was hurt. All in all, it was the worst season of his major-league career (a .221 average, six homers, 42 RBI), and nothing close to what the Rays expected when they traded Rolando Arrojo and Aaron Ledesma for him. For what it's worth, Castilla is talking about the 2001 comeback player of the year award.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

Bucs

  • Dungy can see Bucs winning
  • Mirror images brace for collision
  • Buccaneers by the numbers
  • TV analysis: Jackie Slater
  • Buccaneers matchups
  • Buccaneers quick hits
  • Buccaneers best and worst: game 5
  • Bucs chat
  • 1976 was a learning experience
  • Christy defined by hard work
  • Middleton pulls no punches
  • Pressure doesn't faze Turner
  • This Washington is focused on Bucs, too
  • Devil Rays

  • 2000 Rays take 'step backwards'
  • Red Sox wave off Rays as Hernandez blows it
  • A's make Monday game more likely
  • Williams proves worthy of MVP
  • Devil Rays season wrapup
  • Lightning

  • Lightning will have a new look
  • College football

  • Bullied!
  • UF extra points
  • Florida defense gets that rundown feeling
  • QB rotation looks more likely
  • Bullied
  • Blackwell strong on the run again
  • Bulls tip away rallyin the fourth quarter
  • College football around the nation
  • College football this week on TV
  • Preps

  • Defense remains depleted
  • Player of the week: Heather Bubolo
  • New leadership pays dividends for Titans
  • Knights take Suncoast title
  • Class 2A's best wins Red Mule boys title
  • Crusader wins in Gainesville
  • Knights take Suncoast title
  • Charger scores five TDs in dismantling of Eagles
  • Jesuit wins Red Mule
  • Berkeley holds on for win
  • Et cetera

  • Mizell's mailbag
  • Sports briefs
  • Managers survive, until now
  • Baseball briefs
  • Kudos for booting interloper
  • Flipping puts the biggest bass in range
  • Highs and lows
  • NHL briefs
  • Captain's corner
  • NFL games
  • Manning's maturity helps Colts develop
  • NFL briefs


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts