The baseball postseason is behind us, and that means another season is upon us—the season where postseason awards will be given to the outstanding players from the season.
With their 100 win season on the books, some Tampa Bay Rays will receive some hardware for their efforts this season.
Pitcher Shane Baz has already picked up some hardware. He won the Rays Minor League Pitcher of the year award.
Baz split time at Montgomery and Durham, where he compiled a 5-4 record with a 2.06 ERA. Baz had 113 strikeouts in 17 starts. He also pitched in a playoff game against the Red Sox.
Although, from July 20th to August 9th, Baz was on the inactive list as he took some time away to represent team USA at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Baz made his big league debut on September 20th, and in three starts, went 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA. Baz will compete for a spot in the starting rotation in 2022.
Outfielder Randy Arozarena is up for three postseason awards. Arozarena is a finalist for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. He is also one of the finalists for a Gold Glove award.
Arozarena hit .274 with 20 homers, and 69 runs batted in and was a mainstay in the Rays lineup all season. He will be competing with Adonis Garcia of Texas and Ryan Mountcastle of Baltimore for the ROY award.
Arozarena, DH Nelson Cruz, and Catcher Mike Zunino are among finalists for the Silver Slugger Awards. This award goes to the best offensive player at each position. However, third baseman Joey Wendle who had a .863 on-base percentage with 39 homers and 99 runs batted in, is not one of the nominees at third base.
Two other Tampa Bay Rays secured nominations for Gold Glove awards at their respective positions. In addition to Randy Arozarena, center fielder Kevin Keirmaier and third basemen Joey Wendle are finalists at their positions.
Kiermaier has won the Gold Glove award three times, most recently in 2019. Keirmaier made one error in 231 chances.
Arozarena also only made one error in 114 chances and threw out four runners. Joey Wendle, a first-time all-star in 2021, made 11 errors in 268 chances for a .959 fielding percentage.
The awards will be handed out live on MLB TV on November 7th.
However, one member of the Rays is already a winner in the post-season. DH Nelson Cruz won the Roberto Clemente Award.
This award recognizes a player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Cruz has made financial contributions to his hometown of Las Matos de Santa Cruz in the Dominican Republic, helping out with a health clinic, police station, buying fire fighting equipment, including uniforms and a fire truck.
He has also helped the locals out with dental visits and optometrists visits.
Cruz talked about the award and his passion for helping out his community. “It’s just a privilege and honor. I think I don’t have the words to describe how enjoyable these awards are for me and my family. Like I said in the past, we put a lot of work into the community, never thinking to be really recognized. Most players do because we think it’s the right thing to do.”
“But it’s always nice to be recognized, and especially since this is the highest award, you can get as a baseball player, something that I’m really proud of. As a Latino, I know that Roberto influenced so many Latin players to do what we do. It’s been just an honor to win this award.”
This is the third time that Cruz was a nominee for the Roberto Clemente award.
Cruz will be a free agent following the 2021 World Series.