Rookie Jonny DeLuca has already changed the Rays' trajectory (and aura)

Jonny DeLuca has been very good at the plate in his first few games wearing a Rays uniform. He could be a big time addition Tampa Bay needed and really could be a link that helps string some offense together.
New York Mets v Tampa Bay Rays
New York Mets v Tampa Bay Rays / Mike Carlson/GettyImages

Back in December, the blockbuster trade that sent Tampa Bay ace Tyler Glasnow to the Los Angeles Dodgers resulted in the Dodgers sending outfielder Jonny DeLuca back to the Rays. The outfielder had 42 at-bats in 2023 with Los Angeles and showed some promise with a .262 average and a .740 OPS.

DeLuca finally made his debut for the Rays this past week after recovering from a hand injury he suffered in spring training. The debut game came on May 3, as Tampa Bay welcomed the New York Mets to Tropicana Field.

In his first game, the Rays outfielder recorded his first hit and had a run as well to help Tampa Bay get the win, which was big in the team getting some momentum back. He would really shine his way into the spotlight in the series finale against the Mets.

After the game went into extra innings, the Rays faced a hole in the bottom of the tenth down 6-5. Tampa Bay catcher Ben Rortvedt was walked and Jose Caballero stole third (after starting the inning on second). This gave DeLuca runners at the corners. He then lined a ball into center that got past the outstretched glove of the New York center fielder, rolling to the wall. Rortvedt and Caballero scored, allowing DeLuca to secure the walk-off base hit and the Rays' first sweep of the 2024 season.

DeLuca continued to build off of all of that momentum in the series opener against the Chicago White Sox on Monday. He went 2-for-4 with 4 RBI and a home run, as Tampa Bay dominated Chicago 8-2.

At this point, DeLuca is batting .333 with 10 RBI in his first four games. That is production the Rays can use on offense to get them back over .500 and compete with the rest of Major League Baseball through the month of May and into the summer.

Since his first few debut games, DeLuca has not only put the Rays on a four-game winning streak, but he also has Tampa Bay in the top ten in Major League Baseball in team batting average and 11th in the league in hits per game. This is miles ahead of what the Rays were a few weeks ago, and represents exactly the spark they spent all of April looking for.

If Tampa goes on one of their patented runs, you can probably point to DeLuca's emergence as a big reason why.