ST. PETERSBURG, FL
Jose Siri, who came back from the IL on April 25th after he suffered a right hamstring strain, is now a key part of the Rays offense and defense. He had kicked off the season hitting .318/.333/.682 with 2 homers in his first 6 games. Is a small sample size, however, it was encouraging to watch Siri swing the bat nicely. Siri now is back with the team at full strength, and ready to make an impact.
We had a chance to interview Siri, and to ask his manager and hitting coach about his role on the team.
We know that Siri is a polished runner, and what makes him stand out is that the majority of the time he makes the right decision. He excels in every category, however, he does many things that go unnoticed. He goes from first to third on a single, makes a good jump to catch a deep fly ball, and he is always ready to get the next base. One of Siri’s biggest weapons in the bases is his aggressiveness. Kevin Cash recognizes these tools:
His sprint speed is elite, but also his instincts are elite, whether he is stealing bases or he is getting opportunities to get another 90 feet. The way he runs the bases combined with his elite speed makes him very dangerous. We have won games because of his speed and his instincts.
“The double steal was a thing of aggression, it was not planned in any way”. Siri said after a 4-1 win against the Pirates on May 2. He also explained that is key to know the baserunners around you. “I knew that Franco could go to second in that situation, so I took advantage and got home before the throw did”. Siri explained
With his speed and potential power, could he be the Rays next 20/20 player? “I’m working to get that 20/20 season, I need to focus and give my 100% every day so I can reach his goal,” Siri said
Jose Siri has definitely changed his approach at the plate, that’s part of why he is getting better results. As of late, we have seen a reduction of movement in his stance, with a smaller leg kick toward home plate. In the first video can see his swing from 2022, which has a huge leg kick. The second video is from 2023, he looks more compact, and the leg kick is smaller.
Jose Siri hits the first home run of the 2022 postseason pic.twitter.com/5pR1hnV9d9— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) October 7, 2022
In winter ball, one of the goals was actually to reduce his path in terms to reduce his leg kick, the good news is that he hasn’t lost any power. His injury set him back a little bit, but in time he should be back. Chad Mottola on Siri’s new leg kick.
He has worked on being a little bit more of a competitive at-bat, there’s a lot of swing and miss that’s not totally going away, but throughout the course of the game we need him to put the ball in play, and trust his speed. Cash on Siri’s approach to the plate
We all know that Siri has amazing raw power, however, one of the challenges is to put that into action.
That’s what we are trying to do, we are trying a blend of letting him release that a little bit, but learning how to back down in certain counts when you are behind - accepting your singles and using the other side of the field. Chad Mottola on how Siri can translate his raw power into the field.
So far in 2023, Jose increased his fly ball percentage by 3 points, however, this is not something that the Rays’ coaching staff is looking for.
When you are swinging the bat correctly that happens, so it’s never part of our focus, but when you catch the ball in front properly it goes in the air more. But, that’s not the goal, when you are swinging right that’s what happens. Chad Motolla on Jose’s increase in FB%
One of the main problems that Siri faces at the plate is his strikeout percentage, which is one of the highest in the league. In 2023 Siri has a 34.1K%, which is even worst than last season (33.2%).
That’s the goal, he is coming off an injury with not many at-bats in the rehab assignment, so we knew there would be some timing issues. Once he gets a few more at-bats under his belt he should be all right. Chad Mottola on Siri’s high K%
If Siri’s plate approach needs some work, there’s really no need to tinker with his defense. Last year he ranked in the 99th percentile in OAA (Outs Above Average). In 2023 in just 12 games played Siri has 3 defensive runs saved.
We have an elite centerfielder out there; I’m glad he is healthy we missed when he was down two weeks with the hamstring, but there is no doubt that we are a better defensive team when he is out there. Cash on Siri’s performance in center field so far in 2023.
Jose Siri was acquired to fill Kevin Kiermaier’s shoes. If he can cut down on the strikeouts, could he be even better?