5 Tampa Bay Rays Players Who Could Break Out This Season

The Tampa Bay Rays are, on paper, far from being considered one of the elite teams in the league. With a $101 million payroll, they have the sixth-lowest payroll in the league, $204 million lower than the New York Mets‘ league-highest $305 million payroll. This doesn’t mean the Rays are a bad team, however. They might not have a stacked lineup like the best teams do, but they always find a way to excel collectively and perform among the best teams throughout the season.

Despite not having world-class superstars in their roster, they have a handful of players who could be in for great seasons on the field. Here are some Rays players that could break out this season.

5 Tampa Bay Rays Players Who Could Break Out This Season

José Caballero

27-year-old infielder José Caballero is in just his second season in the majors after spending six years bouncing between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners minor league affiliates. During the 2023 season, he played in 104 games with the Mariners, recording a .221 batting average, .343 on-base percentage, and .320 slugging, while hitting just four home runs and stealing 26 bases. Over his first 22 games with Tampa Bay, he hit .288, already hit a home run, stole seven bases, and has an OBP+ of 119 (for reference, the league average is 100). Pretty good start to the season for the Panamanian, and if he keeps it up, he could become a regular starter in the majors, whether that is for the Rays or any other team.

Ryan Pepiot

Starting pitcher Ryan Pepiot arrived on the team during the offseason along with outfielder Jonny DeLuca, in a trade that sent Tyler Glasnow and Manuel Margot to the Los Angeles Dodgers. At first glance, it might seem like the Dodgers fleeced the Rays with this trade, given that Pepiot and DeLuca haven’t even completed a full year of MLB service yet. However, Pepiot has the talent to be a solid starter in the majors: over 101 innings pitched, he owns a 3.12 ERA, having displayed an impressive 2.14 ERA last year with the Dodgers. He has also been played as a reliever with the Dodgers, giving the Rays more options to play him in case he begins to underperform.

Isaac Paredes

One could argue that Mexican-born infielder Isaac Paredes already had his breakout season in 2023 when he slashed .250/.352/.488 with 31 home runs over 143 games. The truth is, he’s capable of much more than that. Over the first 22 games of the season, he slashed .270/.353/.486, has an OPS+ of 145, and has hit five home runs, on pace to eclipse the 31 home run mark he set last season and hit 37 this year. He’s on track to become Tampa Bay’s best hitter this season, and if he continues to perform like he has, he’ll have no problem earning that title.

Curtis Mead

Australian-born infielder Curtis Mead had a decent start to the season, going 7-24 (.292) over the first six games of the season. He’s fallen off since and has been relegated to the bench, but that doesn’t mean it’s over for the rookie third baseman. He’ll aim to get back on track soon and regain his spot in the starting lineup, and if he does, he could join the fight for this year’s American League Rookie of the Year award.

Junior Caminero

Unlike the players mentioned before, infielder Junior Caminero started out the season with the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate, the Durham Bulls. However, he’s already made his MLB debut with the Rays in 2023, and he’s listed as the league’s #4 prospect per mlb.com. During the 2023 season at age 19, he slashed .235/.278/.353 and hit just one home run, prompting his return to the minor leagues before the start of the 2024 season. However, he’s still very young. Give him some time to collect himself and regroup in the minors, and he’ll be ready to hit the ground running once he makes his return to the big leagues.

Main Image: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

5 1 vote
Do you agree with this article? Let's see your vote!
5 1 vote
Do you agree with this article? Let's see your vote!
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x