HomeTeamsRaysYandy Diaz Picks Up Where He Left Off on Opening Day

Yandy Diaz Picks Up Where He Left Off on Opening Day

In the Rays Opening Day win, a familiar face in Yandy Diaz led the way. After Zach Eflin retired the three batters he faced, Diaz put the Rays on the board in the bottom of the first with his first home run of the year. After a stellar 2023 campaign, Diaz picked up right where he left off. 

Last season, Diaz took his game to a new level. In 137 games, the 32-year-old set career highs in home runs with 22, RBI with 78, and doubles with 35. While Diaz was a human highlight reel, he also made history. He became the first player in franchise history to win an AL Batting Title. 

Due to his play last season, Diaz enters the 2024 campaign as a key piece to the Rays’ success. He has the ability to get on base and make pitchers pay when they make a mistake, but that is not the only way he makes an impact. 

As the former Guardian crushed everything in sight last season, he was also a reliable defender. While spending most of his time at first, Diaz only committed four errors while turning 70 double plays. He also added 72 assists to his resume, 69 of which came at first. 

While Diaz had a productive Opening Day, the Rays could not come away with a win. Against their division rival, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Rays pitching faded late in an 8-2 loss. Although it was only one game, Diaz knows that Tampa has to be better. 

“ Feeling good or not feeling good, you know Toronto is a good team,” Diaz told MLB.com’s Adam Berry through team translator Manny Navaro.” They’ve got a lot of good hitters in that lineup, and we’ve got to get a lot of runs in order to beat a team like that.” 

With Diaz’s home run swing already in midseason form, the Rays had at least one positive to take from Opening Day. The pitching will be better, particularly with Zach Eflin, who received some AL CY Young votes last year. 

Although Diaz’s home run was his best moment on Thursday, he seems primed to defend his batting title. While leading off, he finished the day 3-4 with a double and single, falling just a triple short of the cycle. One of the things that makes him so valuable is his ability to set the table for the rest of the offense.

As the season continues, the Rays will continue to look for Diaz for offense. He has improved each year with the Rays and only hit below .290 twice during his six-year stint in Tampa. That has made him a hard piece to take out of the lineup. 

As the Rays look to avoid a series loss, they will be counting on Diaz. He showed on Thursday that he is ready to defend his title. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here