ST. PETERSBURG — Randy Arozarena is a showman who can perform at any time. According to Rays manager Kevin Cash, “on any given night, he may be the most gifted player on the field.” “He brings speed, athleticism, power, enthusiasm, and energy. He is a very unique player for our team. He seems like the kind of athlete that baseball fans go to the stadium to see. Especially now.
When September rolled along, Arozarena was just about to accomplish something noteworthy.
He switched to the Rays in 2020 following a protracted COVID-19 battle and used his outstanding September performance (.288, 7 home runs, 11 RBIs, and a 1.055 OPS in 21 games) as a springboard for his record-breaking October.
His 20th home run of the season came in the final week, and he stole 20 bases on the penultimate day to record the fifth 20-20 season in Rays history. Last year, he put on a flurry towards the end (.305, 2 homers, 9 RBIs,.894 OPS over 23 games). The American League Rookie of the Year title was later won by him.
Arozarena has larger objectives for this year despite having 18 home runs and 27 thefts going into the game on Saturday.
Through team interpreter Manny Navarro, he remarked, “There’s an opportunity for 20 to 40.”
He takes great satisfaction in his unusual and amazing mix of power and speed, emphasizing “the God-given ability” and the discipline to train to keep in condition. “I know that if I eat too much, if I become too fat, I won’t be able to run so I’ve had to be able to work out,” he says.
Cash has a unique suggestion: “How about 30-30? I’ll accept that.
Twelve home runs in the Rays’ 32 remaining games may seem excessive, but keep in mind that Arozarena blasted 10 home runs over the course of 18 postseason games in 2020 while up against some of the greatest pitchers in the league.
Arozarena was extremely pleased of his 20-20 performance from the previous season, which made him the 11th rookie to do it since Major League Baseball first established the term in 1958.
Randy Arozarena focused also joined Tommy Pham and B.J. Upton (2007, 2011, and 2012) as the third member of the Rays’ 20-20 club (2019). Arozarena wants to do it once more without a doubt.
Want proof? Isaac Paredes’ 17th and 18th home runs from last Sunday gave the squad a brief lead. “I’m not trying to compete with him,” Arozarena retorted. I just want to hit 20 home runs, that’s all. And if I succeed, I’ll be content. To once again have 20/20 vision is my goal.
Arozarena had to make a run to the finish line against the Yankees last year, swiping four bases in the final three games. His attention is currently on the power.
Randy Arozarena focused remarked, “I’m quite delighted with where I’m headed, but we have to take it slowly. Therefore, I must first obtain 19 before obtaining 20. I’ll then have a different objective after that. If I get those two done first, I’ll be able to do something else.
A 20-20 performance is extremely uncommon; in the Rays’ 25 seasons, there have only been five times when a player has hit at least 20 home runs and stolen at least 20 bases in the same season.
(Rarer still, the Rays have just one 40-homer season, one no-hitter, two players with the cycle, and three triple plays to their credit.)
There have been 97 20-20 performances by American League players since the Rays’ 1998 season opener, including three so far this year from Julio Rodriguez of Seattle, Adolis Garcia of Texas, and Marcus Semien of Texas.