It's easy to lose track of all the biggest plays over a six month, 162-game(+) schedule, but luckily you've got me to organize and find all of the most important at bats for your 2011 Tampa Bay Rays. Using a statistic called Win Probability Added (WPA) we can look at each player's contributions at the singular at bat level factoring in the inning, the score, the number of outs, and the number of baserunners. A two-run homer early in the game isn't nearly as important as a walk-off two-run homer simply because the late dinger guarantees the win. The game is over, the home team wins, everyone rejoice.
The concept is simple, but it's not necessary to wrap your brain around all the math here. I've compiled every plate appearance in 2011 so that we can take a look at the 15-most important plate appearances this year. I think some of the names will surprise you, but mostly, I hope this gives you a chance to relive some of the best feelings we all had this year.