HomeTeamsRaysJonathan Aranda Making the Most of His Opportunities 

Jonathan Aranda Making the Most of His Opportunities 

Over the last two years, Jonathan Aranda has gotten a small taste of playing in the majors. After showing improvement during the 2023 campaign, he is determined to earn a spot on the opening day roster. While spring training is far from over, Aranda has made his presence felt.

Through five games, the 25-year-old has posted a .417 batting average. He has also driven in one run and shown some power with two doubles. Aranda’s play has not gone unnoticed, and the Rays like what they see.

“ We like what we’ve seen from Aranda,” bench coach Rodney Linares told MLB.com’s Adam Berry on Friday. “ He came in stronger. He looks really confident. He’s taking really good at-bats.”

So far, Aranda’s success has been due to his hard work. He has focused this offseason on addressing flaws he saw in his swing last year. In 103 plate appearances in the majors, he posted a slash line of .230/.340/.368. He also struck out 31 times. 

Additionally, while he excelled against off-speed pitches, he struggled against fastballs. He hit .152 against that pitch and posted a .283 slugging percentage. Over the last few weeks, Aranda has made progress with handling high heat.

“ It was the toughest pitch for me to catch up with last year, so I came with that mentality to be able to work on that and get better this year,” Aranda told reporters via communications director Elvis Martinez on Friday. “ Still working on it. I just started. I don’t feel 100 % at it, but we’re working on it.”

While Aranda has struggled in the majors, he has been a hitting machine at every other level. The 25-year-old posted a .339 batting average in 95 games at Triple-A last season. He also drove in 81 runs and showed some power with 48 extra-base hits.

His ability to get on base came as no surprise. The talented infielder has posted a .306 batting average in 509 minor league games. The Rays hope that if he makes the opening day roster, he can rediscover that form. If he can, the Rays offense will have a potent bat to rely on, depending on the matchup. 

Although the Rays are encouraged with his progress, Aranda is far from satisfied. 

“I know I’m competing for a spot, making the team out of Spring Training,” Aranda told reporters on Friday. “Baseball is a tough game. You have to be prepared to compete all the time.”

With the regular season quickly approaching,  Aranda will be a player to watch. The Rays’ infield includes Brandon Lowe, Amed Rosario, Yandy Diaz, Isaac Paredes, and Jose Caballero.  Aranda’s competition for a roster spot includes Curtis Mead. 

For Aranda, the key will be showing that he can make adjustments and consistently make hard contact. That is what has made him one of the Rays most talked about prospects since he was signed by the team as an international free agent in 2015. 

If he can do that, it will be hard for the Rays to keep him off the opening day roster.


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