Rays Grades: Luke Raley steadily improving, but there is work still to do

Luke Raley showed some power in his bat during the 2023 season, but there is still much to improve upon as his career goes on.
Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Guardians
Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Guardians / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

In the 2023 MLB season, Tampa Bay's Luke Raley really stepped up with an improvement on his early years at the highest level in the sport.

He improved his batting average (.249), slugging percentage (.490), and OPS (.820). He also tallied 19 home runs this season and knocked in 49 RBI.

Raley found himself in different roles throughout the season. He is labelled at first base put also played in the outfield and was in the Rays' lineup as a designated hitter pretty often. He recieved 357 at-bats this season which ranked 8th on the team.

Luke Raley barreled up more for Rays in 2023

Despite not being a consistent player Tampa Bay would turn to every night, Raley showed signs that he was improving in 2023. His ability to barrel up the baseball for hard hits was on display. He had a max exit velocity that was in the top 8% of all players this season and he had an average exit velocity that was in the 77th percentile in the MLB.

This barreling of the ball led to home runs and plenty of extra base hits. Raley was top five on the Rays in both doubles and triples last season.

There are still facets of hitting that hold Raley back. He struck out a lot (third on the Rays, 128 total) and had a whiff rate in the 1st percentile with a chase rate not looking to hot either in the 34th percentile. His plate discipline has got to improve as Raley has yet to have an on-base percentage above .335 in his career at the major league level.

Raley had power that he showed throughout the 2023 season. However, he is still in the process of becoming a more complete hitter which requires him to be more patient at the plate with the development of discipline.

Luke Raley 2023 Player Grade: C