The Tampa Bay Rays haven't only been putting up a massive amount of wins through just over 50 games this season, but they've been absolutely crushing the ball out of the park in the process. To open up the season, the Rays set a major league record with homers in 22 straight games and immediately started to put the league on notice.
Unlike previous seasons where Tampa Bay tended to play more small ball and worked toward manufacturing runs, the Rays have been using the long ball to overpower their opponents. Four players already have double digit home runs, with Yandy Diaz as the leader in the clubhouse with 12. To put this in perspective, Diaz only hit nine all of last season and has a career high of 14 in a season. 11 players in total on the team have at least seven jacks, and frankly, it's been rare to watch a Rays game this year without someone taking a trip around the bases for the good guys.
A couple players to highlight include Jose Siri and Jose Lowe, who have both started to really impress in Tampa Bay. Siri came to the Rays last year in a 3-team trade as Tampa Bay really valued his raw power, elite speed, and stellar defensive capabilities. Recently, he's been putting that raw power on display, hitting three home runs in his last four games for a total of nine on the season already. This is even more impressive given his strained hamstring back in April that kept him out for a few weeks. Josh Lowe, on the other hand, has had a major breakout year and has been one of the offensive leaders for this team all year. He's currently hitting .306 with 11 bombs, some of which have come in some very clutch moments for the Rays. Safe to say that Tampa Bay has some promising young talent in their outfield.
Tampa Bay Rays don't just hit home runs, they steal bases, too
What's the weirdest thing about this rampant home run pace for the Rays? Well, they also LEAD THE LEAGUE in stolen bases too. With 99 home runs and 66 stolen bases already on the season, the Rays have done an outstanding job at utilizing two very different skillsets on a very consistent basis. Wander Franco, Jose Lowe, and Taylor Walls all have at least 10 stolen bags so far this season. In a Forbes article written by Tom Layberger, Kevin Cash mentioned their baserunning prowess: "There is no doubt baserunning has helped us a lot... ...We anticipated our team speed would assist us in scoring runs, and it has."
This team has undoubtedly been a joy to watch all season not only because of their great team chemistry, but their incredible team versatility as well. With still so much of the season left, it'll be a lot of fun to see if the Rays can keep up with their scalding-hot paces.