The leadoff man is an important part of any lineup. Finding a player that can get on base and be the catalyst to the offense is key for every team, but even it may be even more important for the Rays. With a lineup that still relies heavily upon Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist, getting people on base in front of those sluggers is essential.
However, this season, the Rays leadoff hitters have been unable to do that. For the season, the leadoff spot has on on base percentage of only .321, 20th in baseball. Seemingly regardless of who the Rays put in that spot, whether it was Desmond Jennings, Matthew Joyce or Zobrist, leadoff hitters just were not getting on.
However, it seems as though the Rays have solved that problem. Since being slotted as the leadoff hitter, David DeJesus has done what the rest of the team had not been able to – get on base. In his fourteen games as a leadoff hitter, DeJesus has a .392 on base percentage, which is the best for anyone on the Rays that has had more than one plate appearance at the leadoff spot.
This improved production from the leadoff spot is likely to result in improved production from the offense. Even though the Rays have had problems scoring runs over the past few weeks, the Rays have still been able to get people on base. Eventually, that should translate into runs.
The acquisition of David DeJesus may have been under the radar compared to other moves that were made before the deadline and in August, DeJesus may end up being one of the most important players for the Rays during the stretch run. As DeJesus goes, the Rays offense may follow.