At 56-28, the Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in MLB and look like the team to beat in the American League.
They did make some offseason additions, but the root of their success has been getting the best out of their own personnel.
Take, for example, Yandy Diaz.
Since acquiring him in 2019, they have been trying to get him to consistently lift the ball to tap into his incredible raw power.
He was a good hitter for most of his career, but this year, he finally improved his game power by getting the ball into the air.
He will now play in the All-Star Game next month, and he has been named as the starter at first base.
Diaz is making history in the process, because he is the first player in franchise history to start the game at that position, according to stats expert Sarah Langs.
Yandy Díaz will be the first Rays first baseman to start the All-Star Game https://t.co/L1dijeEqSf
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) June 30, 2023
Diaz is hitting a cool .318/.407/.515 with 12 home runs and a .197 isolated power, the second-best mark of his career.
He already has 2.3 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) according to FanGraphs, and his OPS is an excellent .922 (also a career-high).
It’s hard to find a player with power and such a great feel for contact, and Diaz is certainly one of them.
He projects to surpass 100 runs scored for the first time in his MLB tenure, as he currently has 53.
It’s hard to put into words how important he has been to the Rays offense.
He is getting a deserved All-Star berth and earned his place above several talented first basemen in the league.NEXT: Shane McClanahan Continues To Headline An Elite MLB List