key Rays players

Key Rays Players Are Surging at the Plate

Scoring for the Tampa Bay Rays this season has been sporadic at best. Key players have struggled to get things going this season, causing alarm for a fanbase expecting another deep playoff run. Things are looking up for the Rays, though, as a recent uptick in offensive production has come from some much-needed sources.

Here Are the Rays Players Who Are Surging at the Plate.

 

Jose Siri

To say that Siri has been hot lately, would be an understatement of epic proportions. After a lackluster start to the season, it seemed that all the swagger had left the boisterous centerfielder. The playful dugout antics and jawing were replaced with a serious, downtrodden demeanor that fans were not accustomed to.

Thankfully for the Rays and their fans, Siri has risen from the ashes of a slow start like an ornate phoenix.

Siri’s plays in the outfield have been the stuff of SportsCenter Top 10, robbing home runs and making spectacular throws. He has seemingly single-handedly won games for the Rays with his recent defensive prowess.

The real difference has been in the batter’s box. Through the end of May this season, Siri was hitting a measly .187 with five home runs and 18 RBI. Those numbers have soared since the beginning of June. Siri has added four home runs and nine RBIs to his total in the 17 June games played while hitting an impressive .279. 

Randy Arozarena

Not be outdone is Siri’s outfield partner Randy Arozarena. The Rays breakout star began the season in a definitive slump. He seemed lost at the plate and appeared to be desperate for any success. Like any hitter will tell you, the batter’s box can become like quicksand the harder you try, pulling you and your stats down.

Hitting an anemic .158 through the end of May, it appears Arozarena has worked through his struggles and found success at the plate in June.

In 18 games in June, Arozarena is hitting a robust .309 with a .974 OPS. While his two home runs and seven RBI are not overly impressive, Arozarena’s decrease in strikeouts has been. A sign of renewed patience at the plate, Arozarena only has 10 strikeouts so far in June after averaging a league-worst 31 during April and May. 

Continued success at the plate could see Arozarena’s batting average rise above the Mendoza line for the first time since April 13th.

Ben Rortvedt

After a strong start to the season, Rortvedt came tumbling down to Earth during May. Entering the month, the Rays catcher was hitting a healthy .340 with seven RBI to his name. Not huge numbers, but his position in the lower half of the batting order could be partly blamed for his lack of runs pushed across the plate.

Splitting time with backup Alex Jackson, who has been dealing with ineptitude at the plate all season, Rortvedt hit .157 in May, bringing his overall average down nearly a hundred points to .248. Across 61 plate appearances, Rortvedt only knocked in two RBIs while striking out 15 times.

By contrast, in 38 plate appearances in June so far, Rortvedt is hitting .314 with a .940 OPS. This is thanks in large part to his two home runs and eight RBI during that stretch. His strikeout rate has stayed relatively the same with 10 so far but can be excused with such an upswing in offensive production.

Yandy Diaz

Another Rays player who started the season a bit slow, but has come on strongly is Yandy Diaz. His struggles have not been as apparent as the other names on this list, but they have been there nonetheless. Diaz hit .202 in April, bringing down his average to .197 at one point. He only drove in six RBIs with no home runs during the month as well.

Diaz managed to right the ship in May which was a big reason why the team was able to tread water while other Rays players struggled. Diaz hit .269 in May with an impressive .350 on-base percentage thanks to his 13 walks drawn. Add a healthy 14 RBI and you have the makings of a successful month. 

Diaz has continued to build on that success in June, hitting .329 with nine RBIs.

The Missing Piece

Despite the recent success of these key Rays players, the team has continued to struggle for wins. Wavering near the .500 mark all season, the Rays have seemingly come out of the other side of their offensive stagnation and are poised to get into the Wild Card race.

Unfortunately, it appears opposing offenses have also come alive and lit up Rays pitchers as of late. Starters and bullpen arms alike have fallen victim to giving up big innings to batters and giving away a game. With pitchers returning from injury waiting in the wings, it may be time for the Rays to make a move and add the missing piece of the winning puzzle.

Main Image:  Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

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