Rays Keeping Ks Down with Keppinger
The Tampa Bay Rays have recently signed journey man Jeff Keppinger, to a one year $1.525 million contract. “Keppinger?,” you might say. Yes, Keppinger. Someone who can really add to the already excellent defense the Rays have. He can also contribute to the offense as well.
Jeff Keppinger is a very versatile player and can play multiple positions, which the Rays love. He can play almost every position on the field. He had a career field percentage of .984 with his highest percentage, .989, being at second base. This kind of stellar defensive performance can really help the Rays separate themselves from the rest of the league and make them the best defensive team, heading into the 2012 season.
Most people easily overlook Keppinger’s offense because of his good defense. He has some offensive numbers that would impress many people. He has a career average of .281, which is very attractive for a Rays’ lineup that had a major league ranked 25th average of .244 in 2011. Keppinger has also been ranked 1st for at bats per strikeout in 2008 and 2010 and comes into this year as the 2nd ranked player in that statistical category. Having the ability to put the ball in play and make something happen will have a tremendous influence on a Rays’ lineup ranked 19th in most team strikeouts last year. Also, adding Carlos Pena and Luke Scott to the lineup will only increase the amount of strikeouts, so players like Keppinger can only help keep our rate of strikeouts down and hopefully keep us up to bat during innings that would normally end in a strikeout.
Jeff Keppinger is 31 years old and brings 7 years of experience to the Rays. This combination of experience and age can really keep a young team focused and on the right track towards a successful year. As I have mentioned in past articles, the moves the Rays have made and continue to make only make this team stronger and keep us ranked among and arguably above the most elite teams in the American league.