Biggest Underperformers on the 2024 Rays Roster

The start of the 2024 MLB season has been a rocky one for the Tampa Bay Rays. Through 44 games, the Rays sit at 22-22, a far cry from the division-leading 32-12 start in 2023. While that team caught fire early and was eventually worn down by injury, it appears that the members of this Rays roster decided to skip their winning ways to begin this season. Missing key players has been a hindrance, but so have been less-than-stellar performances from the team’s star and role players.

Rays Who Have Unperformed This Season.

Jose Siri

Apr 30, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Jose Siri (22) can’t catch a ball hit by Milwaukee Brewers designated hitter Tyler Black (not pictured) for a double in the third inning at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

A prominent face in the Rays lineup, Siri and his unique flair embodies the swagger the Rays possess at their best. Unfortunately, things are far from their best at the moment. Never one to be confused for an upper-tier batter, Siri’s performance this year has been abysmal at the plate. An anemic .176 batting average in 37 games leaves the outfielder languishing near the bottom of the team. He also has 48 strikeouts, tied for 9th most in the American League.

The situation is not much better in the fielding department, where Siri has committed three errors this season. That number already qualifies for the most he’s had in any season, with nearly three-quarters of the games left. All told, as of the time of writing, Siri is costing the team wins at a rate of -0.3 WAR, according to Baseball Reference.

Tyler Alexander

May 12, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Alexander (14) throws a pitch against the New York Yankees in the seventh inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Joining Siri in the negative WAR department is starting pitcher Tyler Alexander. Sitting at -0.2 WAR this season, Alexander has been serviceable at times but is coming off his worst outing of the year against the New York Yankees. Alexander gave up six runs on six hits over seven innings, including three home runs, while only striking out three. The three home runs brought his total to nine this season, tied for second most in the AL.

With a fastball that generally sits in the low 90s, Alexander lacks the speed to overpower hitters. While his slider and changeup are solid pitches, his swinging strike rate is a full five percentage points below the 19.1% MLB average. This means his pitches are too hittable and put into play too often.

Alex Jackson

May 8, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Chicago White Sox third base Bryan Ramos (44) scores a run as Tampa Bay Rays catcher Alex Jackson (28) attempted to tag him out during the sixth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a short tenure for the Rays catcher, having only appeared in eight games this season. Unfortunately for him, and the Rays, it has not been a successful one at the plate. With one hit in 20 at-bats, Jackson’s average sits at a horrendous .050. A small sample size admittedly, but an unacceptable stat for many Rays fans.

Jackson’s saving grace has been that he is serviceable behind the plate, having committed no errors and allowing no passed balls. He has also thrown out two of six runners attempting to steal second base. It’s not all terrible for Jackson, but it’s far from great.

Aaron Civale

May 14, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Aaron Civale (34) pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Like the previously mentioned Alexander, Aaron Civale also holds the distinction of giving up the second most home runs amongst AL pitchers. Add a 5.83 ERA, you have the makings of a glaring weak spot in the Rays starting rotation. Civale’s saving grace has been a higher number of strikeouts, but it only brings up his value in the rotation so much.

As a matter of fact, Civale’s value is in the negatives when looking at his WAR this season. Much like the others on this list, Civale is hurting the Rays with his play at a rate of -0.4 WAR. His 30 earned runs allowed, 21 in his past five starts, is bad enough for second most in the AL and a major factor in his struggles.

Randy Arozarena

May 11, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena (56) reacts after scoring against the New York Yankees during the seventh inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

The face of the Rays organization, Arozarena has simply withered in the face of expectations this season. Arozarena is hitting .156 on the season, dead last on the Rays for any player with more than eight games played this season. That number is nearly a full 100 points below his career average of .255. This lack of production at the plate can be attributed in large part to his AL-leading 55 strikeouts.

When he does manage to hit the ball, Arozarena shows good power with eight home runs so far this season. It hasn’t been enough, however, to keep him in the positive WAR club this season. A -0.3 WAR is the lowest in his career so far and nearly four below his 3.5 in 2023.

While the Rays have shown resilience by not falling too far behind in the division standings so far this season, there is only so long before performances like these catch up to them. With more players coming off the injured list and rejoining the team, it may be exactly the spark these members of the Rays lineup need to start producing again.

Main Image:  David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

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