In March, Carlos Pena started the 2007 season as a non-roster spring training invitee that was just looking for a roster spot. At the end of March, Pena rode an awful spring training straight back to the minor leagues where he spent most of the 2006 season and many thought that it was just more evidence that Pena would never be the player that many thought he would become when he was one of the top prospects in baseball.
Fast forward one Greg Norton injury, six months and 46 home runs and Pena ended the season with a 9th place finish in the AL Most Valuable Player voting. It was, by far, the highest finish ever for a Devil Ray in the MVP voting, as were his two third place votes. In 2003, Aubrey Huff received two votes (a ninth and tenth place vote) to finish 24th in the voting. Last season, Carl Crawford received a single 9th place vote to finish 26th in the voting. The only other Devil Ray to ever receive a vote in the balloting was Jorge Cantu who received a single 10th place vote in 2005 and finished 27th.
Pena was named on 22 of the 28 ballots.
Another MVP for A-Rod, Pena ninth [tampabay.com]