3 Rays That Need to Step Up For The Rest of the Season
Arozarena has already started coming into his own so far in July, and the Rays are going to need a lot more of that. He hasn't had a bad season by any means, but even with the acquisition of Peralta, players like him will need to come through in the wake of Kevin Kiermaier's season-ending injury and Brett Phillips's rough year at the plate. Arozarena set a high bar for himself when he burst onto the scene in 2020, and while it's unrealistic to expect he'll be dominant to that level, he could stand to do some more heavy lifting offensively.
In his rookie-of-the-year-winning season a year ago, Arozarena hit 20 home runs and slashed .274/.356/.459 for an OPS+ of 129. This year, his slash line is a slightly worse .253/.311/.419, which equals an OPS+ of 112. He has no choice but to be an integral part of this Rays offense, with Brandon Lowe just having returned from his back injury that caused him to miss significant time in the first half. As well, Wander Franco and Harold Ramirez are on the IL, so he is now one of the more valued players on the entire team.
Arozarena has ultimately had an inconsistent season. A very slow start in April was followed by an explosive May. After coming back to earth in June, he has picked it up in July. He is currently showing glimpses of what the team will need from him down the stretch, as his OPS has gone from .705 to .732 in this month alone. Still, all eyes are going to be on him with Franco's injury, and if Arozarena can have a second half that is similar to the way his rookie season ended, it would be massive for this Rays club.