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Zobrist leads year-end award-winners

Posted Oct 3, 2009 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Oct 3, 2009 at 07:08 PM

Prior to tonight’s game, the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America announced the winners of its annual awards.

In voting conducted by chapter members, Ben Zobrist was named the 2009 Rays Most Valuable Player, Jeff Niemann was the Outstanding Rookie and Carlos Pena won the Paul C. Smith Champion Award.

Zobrist is hitting .295 with 27 homers and 91 RBIs with two games to play, coming of out nowhere to become an offensive force in an All-Star season while also starting at eight different positions.

Niemann is 12-6 with a 3.94 ERA heading into his 30th start and 31st appearance of the season tonight against the Yankees. He was a unanimous selection as the top rookie.

Pena won the Smith Award, which goes to the player who “best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field,” for the second time in his three years with the Rays.

Updating with the vote totals. Voters chose three candidates for each award, with points given on a 5-3-1 basis.

1. Zobrist 56
2. Crawford 26
3. Longoria 20
ORV: Bartlett 12, Pena 3

1. Niemann 65
2. Price 39
3. Davis 11
ORV: Hernandez 2

1. Pena 38
2. Crawford 26
3. Howell 18
ORV: Zobrist 14, Shields 7, Wheeler 6, Bartlett 4, Perez 2, Gross 1, Longoria 1

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