What great fun it is to know that at any moment, one of the Rays sluggers may deposit a ball into the seats in the outfield bleachers.
Gone are the days of suffering through at-bats of Reid Brignac, Jose Molina, Elliot Johnson, and the whole cavalcade that was 2012. Now the Rays have names like Steven Souza, Corey Dickerson, Steve Pearce, and Curt Casali, who are all capable of sending balls into upper decks at stadiums all across the major leagues, as well as the incumbent Longoria who is always good for a 20+ homer season.
Currently, the Rays already have two hitters who have reached five home runs before the month of April has finished.
The last time the Rays had anyone reach that mark this soon was back in 2013 when Longoria and Matt Joyce enjoyed an early season power surge.
The Rays have never had a trio of hitter reach the mark, and it's not likely they will this year, but it's possible as both Longoria and Logan Forsythe have three homers apiece.
Dickerson's early season power is most certainly welcomed as fans weren't sure what to expect after much was made about how well his power would play away from the hitter haven of Coors Field. Coincidentally, Dickerson actually has more homers than any of the Rockies current outfielders.
By reaching five homers this early, Souza and Dickerson are tied for ninth quickest to reach that mark to start out a season in Rays history.
|Player||PA||Apr HR Total||Season HR Total||Year|
Also, with Souza and Dickerson each having five homers, they make the Rays one of only seven teams to have multiple hitters reach that mark. Souza and Dickerson combined have 10 of the team total 23 homers (43%).
The Rays obviously have a new franchise philosophy as they reinvigorated their offensive approach last season by turning aggressive, swinging at anything near the plate at any point in a count, and then they added pop at every available position this off-season.
Gone are the days the Rays would lead the league in stolen bases and defensive metrics (except for the ones provided by the extraordinary Kevin Kiermaier).
This all leads to a bizarro-world start as the Rays are in the top ten in the majors in homer and strikeout totals on offense, while the Red Sox and Yankees rank in the bottom half. Also, the Rays have eight stolen bases, good for 18th in the majors while the two big spenders up north sit in the top five.
Of course, usurping New York and Boston comes at a cost.
The Rays have mostly been feast or famine at the plate, thanks in large part to their aggressive approach as the team has the 3rd highest strikeout percentage in the majors and are tied for the 4th lowest walk percentage. The team as a whole, lead the majors in swing percentage as they offer at 50% of the pitches they see, however they have the lowest contact percentage to go along with that.
But that's the negative stuff, let's get back to enjoying what I was referencing before and THAT'S BOMBS FROM STEVEN SOUZA AND BIG SWINGING COREY DICKERSON!
(for the below, picture a comic strip in your head)
It's a new look for the Rays, and it's a lot of fun.