Tampa Bay Rays: Ring Around Arozarena – Speed
By Seth Carter
Reviewing the “other guy” in the Tampa Bay Rays’ exchange with the St. Louis Cardinals. We will look at each tool in his belt, today we look at the speed.
Thursday, The Tampa Bay Rays sent a highly-touted left-handed pitching prospect in Matthew Liberatore to the Cardinals in exchange for Jose Martinez and another guy. For those that don’t pay close attention, you may not have heard of Randy Arozarena. It’s time to hear.
Liberatore was such a prospect that he could have been used to get a bigger named veteran. Most evaluators have high hopes for the 6’5″ lefty. Jose Martinez is a great platoon player in desperate need of a DH spot as he ages. He’s going to be a fantastic contributor to the Rays over the next few seasons. He’s a right-handed bat that kills lefties. For his career, he’s slashing .331/.405/.570 with a 160 wRC+ against southpaws.
Alas, Jose Martinez is not enough for a prospect with the value and future of Matthew Liberatore. That’s where Arozarena comes in.
Randy Arozarena’s speed has been his calling card. How fast is he? I’ll give you a few names (not the entire list) to give you an idea of where he was clocked in sprint speed. This Statcast measurement represents how many feet per second the player is covering.
- Trea Turner (30.8)
- Byron Buxton (30.3)
- Adalberto Mondesi (29.9)
- Billy Hamilton (29.5)
- Delino DeShields (29.5)
- Kevin Kiermaier (29.4) – If this guy starts getting on base…
- Mallex Smith (29.4)
- Randy Arozarena (29.4)
- Ronald Acuna Jr. (29.4)
- Mike Trout (29.2)
Again, that was not the entire list because there is a log-jam at 29.5 and 29.4, but as far as pure speed goes, Arozarena is among the best in the game. He is tied for 23rd with several players, including Kiermaier and Acuna.
Once he’s on the 25, er… 26-man roster he will instantly be tied with Kiermaier as the fastest player on the team.
He wasn’t the most efficient thief, but his speed provides him an opportunity to progress. Here’s a look at Arozarena’s second steal of this particular game… It’s home.
Now, despite his speed, he was thrown out on 31% of his attempts at a stolen base in Triple-A. Again, he’s a young player with only 20 Major League at-bats under his belt. He has plenty of other tools in his belt beyond speed.
The Rays may or may not open the season with him on the Major League roster, but we should see him at some point in 2020. He will be a fantastic fourth outfielder with incredible range.
Should we suffer an injury, you have to think Arozarena is our guy.
How do you feel about the recent trade and Arozarena’s future?