Struggles at the top of the order lead to Rays mediocre start to season

Tampa Bay's top two hitters have not been as productive at the plate as the Rays would have hoped for. Here is a look at what they have done so far this season.
Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

A big red flag that may be at play in this batting issue for the Rays is a lack of production from possibly their top two hitters in Yandy Diaz and Randy Arozarena. The two players are batting .221 and .157 on the season respectively.

Considering Diaz is the reigning American League batting champion and Arozarena is coming off an all-star season where he batted .254 with a WAR of 3.5, this is quite surprising and alarming.

After a series loss this past weekend to the New York Yankees Tampa Bay finds themselves sitting at 12-11 on the season, which is just 3.5 games back from the Yankee who sit a top the AL East.

Clearly, it has not been the magical 13-0 start to the season Tampa Bay had a year ago, and there are a lot of reasons for that. One of those reasons is that the Rays come up short at the plate, especially at the top of the order as referenced above. However, they are ranked13th in Major League Baseball in team batting average which is not that bad.

However, they are deep in the bottom half of the league in total home runs and RBI, which has been a factor in keeping the team's record hovering right around .500.

They simply do not hit well with runners in scoring position.

Diaz has 10 RBI, which is good for third on the team. He is one of only three players with 10 or more on the season, along with Isaac Paredes and Amed Rosario. Arozarena has a mere six RBI on the young season.

The home run totals for both of the players is also not that great. Diaz and Arozarena have combined for just three home runs all season. In 2023, both were good power bats for the Rays as they had 22 and 23 home runs respectively. That has not been the case in 2024 and it has hurt the team as Tampa Bay ranks 25th in Major League Baseball with team home runs per game and is 24th in the league in total home runs as a team.

The two stars have been known to show off their power. A burst in home runs will help the Rays become more competitive and win more games.

Now the Rays have no need to hit the panic button, as the team is in fact just 23 games into the season. However, with Diaz and Arozarena not producing at the plate, that presents a red flag for Tampa Bay to address.

With that being said, the team is hovering around the .500 markj without Diaz and Arozarena being factors in the offense. When they start to heat up again, the Rays record will only improve. Plus, the team is also recieving a big bat back in outfielder Josh Lowe.