WAUSAU, WI – November 16, 2009 (PRESS RELEASE) – The Tampa Bay Rays recently announced that Ben Zobrist has been given the Most Valuable Ray Award for his performance this past season. Zobrist, 28, was a member of the Wisconsin Woodchucks during their championship season in 2003. He was also the Woodchucks’ Most Valuable Player that summer.
A 6’3” switch-hitting utility player, Zobrist was one of the biggest surprises in Major League Baseball this season. He played in 152 games for the Rays, while his previous high for a season was 62. The Rays used his versatility to their advantage as Zobrist started games at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, and in the outfield. In June of this year, he became the first ever Woodchuck to play in the MLB All-Star Game.
Zobrist’s performance at the plate forced Rays’ manager Joe Maddon to find any way possible to get his bat in the lineup. He was among the team leaders in numerous hitting categories: 27 home runs (3rd on team), 91 runs batted in (3rd), .405 on-base percentage (1st), and .543 slugging percentage (1st). His on-base plus slugging percentage of .948 was tied for third best in the American League. Only Joe Mauer (Twins) and Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox) had a higher OPS than Zobrist.
The Houston Astros drafted Zobrist in the 6th round of the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft. In July 2006 he was involved in a trade that sent him to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, where he made his Major League debut on August 1st, 2006.
The Wisconsin Woodchucks are a member of the Northwoods League, a college wood bat summer league featuring players from across the country. Baseball America named the Northwoods League as one of the premier summer collegiate baseball leagues in the country. For ticket information contact the Woodchucks office at 715-845-5055.
Courtesy: Wisconsin Woodchucks