Red Sox Standings Watch: Heading into All-Star break in first place
By Sean Penney
Tampa Bay Rays
Raise your hand if you expected the Rays to be third in the league in home runs this late in the season. Even residents of the Tampa Bay area must be surprised by this.
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Logan Morrison leads the way with 24 homers, enough to rank fourth in the league and give credence to his criticism of being left out of the Home Run Derby. The 29-year old has already surpassed his career-high for home runs while producing a slugging percentage and OPS well above his normal rates. A delayed breakout or is a steep decline expected in the second half? LoMo has generally performed better in the second half over the last few seasons, so we can’t count out the possibility that he can kick it into an even higher gear.
Corey Dickerson has a well earned spot as the starting DH in the All-Star Game. He’s ninth in the league with a .312 batting average and tenth with a .903 OPS. He’s done his part to contribute toward the team’s impressive home run total, blasting 17 to enter the break in a tie for 18th in the league.
The Rays have power, but they are middle of the pack with a collective .257 batting average. Don’t expect that to change. Tampa Bay has two of the top eight and four of the top 27 hitters in strikeout percentage. All four of them strikeout at a rate of over 21 percent. This is a lineup filled with all-or-nothing swingers and their top home run hitters don’t have track records of being 30+ homer sluggers.