Trio of Rays receive AL MVP votes
Pena, Longoria and Bartlett each garner consideration for award
ST. PETERSBURG -- No, the Rays did not have a winner Tuesday when Boston's Dustin Pedroia took home American League Most Valuable Player Award honors, but they did follow the team theme of the 2008 season by having three players named in the balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria and Jason Bartlett all received votes, putting the Rays in a tie with the Angels and Rangers for having the most players receiving votes.
The BBWAA is a professional association for baseball journalists writing for daily newspapers, magazines and qualifying Web sites. The organization is responsible for voting on several awards annually, including Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Manager of the Year awards.
Pena, who is the emotional leader of the Rays, had a ninth-place finish with his highest vote being one for third-place en route to 44 total points. The ninth-place finish tied the Rays' all-time high, which Pena set in 2007, when he also finished ninth while receiving 64 points.
Longoria, who won the American League Rookie of the Year Award, finished 11th in the voting and had two sixth-place votes, finishing with 38 points.
Pena and Longoria finished ahead of AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee, who finished 12th in the voting.
Bartlett, who solidified the Rays infield and was voted the Rays team MVP by the local BBWAA chapter, received one fifth-place vote to finish with six points.
Pedroia had an historic victory in winning the award, becoming the first AL second baseman to win it since Nellie Fox in 1959 and only the third player to be named MVP the year after being elected Rookie of the Year.
Pedroia received 16 first-place votes from the 28 ballots cast by two writers in each league city. He was listed second on six ballots, third on four and fourth on one for a total of 317 points, based on a tabulation system rewarding 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third on down to one for 10th.
|2008 AL MVP Award Voting|
|Dustin Pedroia, BOS||16||6||4||1||317|
|Justin Morneau, MIN||7||7||6||3||3||1||1||257|
|Kevin Youkilis, BOS||2||4||4||9||2||4||1||2||201|
|Joe Mauer, MIN||2||8||1||3||4||3||3||2||1||188|
|Carlos Quentin, CWS||1||4||8||4||4||4||1||1||160|
|Francisco Rodriguez, LAA||1||2||6||1||6||3||2||2||143|
|Josh Hamilton, TEX||2||2||3||7||3||2||4||3||112|
|Alex Rodriguez, NYY||1||1||4||1||4||7||45|
|Carlos Pena, TB||1||2||2||3||2||3||44|
|Grady Sizemore, CLE||2||1||5||6||1||42|
|Evan Longoria, TB||2||2||5||2||1||38|
|Cliff Lee, CLE||1||1||1||1||1||24|
|Miguel Cabrera, DET||1||1||4||1||17|
|Vladimir Guerrero, LAA||2||2||1||16|
|Jermaine Dye, CWS||1||2||2||14|
|Aubrey Huff, BAL||1||2||3||12|
|Milton Bradley, TEX||1||1||9|
|Jason Bartlett, TB||1||6|
|Mike Mussina, NYY||1||3|
|Raul Ibanez, SEA||1||1|
|Ian Kinsler, TEX||1||1|
|Ichiro Suzuki, SEA||1||1|
|Mark Teixeira, LAA||1||1|
Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, the 2006 winner, was the runner-up with 257 points. Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis finished third with 201 points.
Statistically, Pena, 30, did not have as good a season offensively as he did in 2007, when he won AL Comeback Player of the Year honors after hitting 46 home runs with 121 RBIs. But he served as the team leader of the AL champion Rays while winning Gold Glove honors at first base and he led the club with 31 home runs, 102 RBIs and 242 total bases despite missing 20 games with a broken left index finger.
Thirty-nine of Pena's 102 RBIs and 18 of his 31 home runs either gave the Rays the lead or tied the game. None of his homers was bigger than the one he hit Sept. 10 at Boston, where his three-run shot in the 14th inning to give the Rays a 4-2 lead and their first series victory at Fenway Park since 1999.
Pena also set a Major League record by drawing nine bases-loaded walks.
Longoria began the season at Triple-A Durham, but quickly found his way to the Major Leagues when the Rays selected him on April 12 and he joined the team in their 11th game. He played in the next 104 Rays games that followed (103 of those were starts), hitting mostly fifth and cleanup, until he suffered a fractured right wrist after being hit by a pitch from Mariners closer J.J. Putz on Aug. 10 in Seattle. He did not return to the lineup until Sept. 13.
Despite missing 30 games due to the fractured wrist, Longoria, 23, led all Major League rookies with 27 home runs and a .531 slugging percentage. In addition, he led AL rookies with 85 RBIs, 60 extra-base hits and 238 total bases.
Among the highlights from Longoria's season were two game-winning home runs, the first coming May 9, when he hit a walk-off two-run shot off Justin Speier to win it 2-0 against the Angels and make a winner of James Shields, who threw a one-hitter. The other came at Oakland when he hit a two-run homer off Chad Gaudin in the 13th inning to give the Rays a 7-5 lead; Tampa Bay held on for a 7-6 win.
On Sept. 18, Longoria hit three home runs in one game against the Twins, making him the second player in Rays history to accomplish the feat (Jonny Gomes hit three on July 30, 2005). By doing so, Longoria became the first rookie third baseman to hit three in one game since Eddie Mathews in 1952.
Bartlett, 29, who the Rays acquired in an offseason trade with the Twins prior to the 2008 season, gave the club a quality glove at shortstop, considerably improving the team's overall defense.
But Bartlett was not just a glove man. He led all AL shortstops in stolen bases with 20 and ranked fourth among them in batting with a .286 average. From Aug. 2 through the season's end, Bartlett hit .353 in 35 games to raise his average by 34 points.
Bartlett's value could best be seen when he wasn't in the lineup. The Rays went 7-9 when he was on the disabled list and just 19-18 when he did not start.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.