For years, Tampa Bay Rays star Yandy Diaz had some of the best exit velocities in the game, yet his career-high in homers is 14, achieved in 2019.
For a man capable of hitting a ball at 112 or 114 mph, 14 home runs is a very disappointing tally.
The reason behind the limited home run power is his elevated groundball rate.
For years, Diaz’s launch angle was not ideal: his swing was geared to hit the ball on the ground.
After years of trying to make adjustments and lift the ball more frequently, it’s apparently happening for him in 2023.
On Wednesday afternoon, against Cincinnati Reds prospect Levi Stoudt, Diaz hit his sixth home run of the young season.
Thought we'd just pick up where we left off last night pic.twitter.com/fwqNXTBQpo
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 19, 2023
He had hit another in Tuesday’s game, so he is pretty much locked in at the moment.
April isn’t even over, and he is almost halfway to his career-high in long-balls.
If he keeps up the good work and continues to lift the ball, it’s not unthinkable to see him reaching 30 homers in 2023.
The best thing of all is that even with the mechanical changes he implemented, his contact and offensive production as a whole haven’t suffered.
After the early Wednesday homer, he is slashing .271/.389/.610 with a .999 OPS.
That OPS would be a career-high as well.
Good things happen when a player with incredible raw power makes contact in the air.
The theory has been presented to Diaz, a long time ago in fact.
However, it’s not easy to make swing changes and have them stick over the course of a long season.
He is finally at that point, and the Rays are smiling because they were there for him through and through.
Now, Diaz is going to be a Ray for a long time, and he will help the organization achieve its objectives.NEXT: Rays Insider Reveals Definitive Update On Jeffrey Springs