Tampa Bay Rays Single Season HR Leaders at Each Position

Tampa Bay Rays single season HR leaders

Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by Matt Musico

If you’ve ever wondered which players are among the Tampa Bay Rays single season HR leaders at each position, then you’re in the right place. Outside of pitcher, each player had to man their position for at least 100 games (or 75% of games played) for the season in question.

After you’re done checking this out, head over to our Rays all-time and single-season home run leaderboards.

Rays Single-Season HR Leaders at Each Position

Catcher: Mike Zunino, 33 Home Runs in 2021

Mike Zunino has surpassed the 20-homer mark four times during his career. However, his 2021 performance overshadows the rest because he blasted a career-high 33 dingers with 62 RBI and a .860 OPS. It resulted in him earning his only All-Star selection and finishing 20th in American League MVP Award voting.

Zunino’s power production was steady throughout this campaign. He never reached double-digit homers in a single month but landed between five and seven taters five times. July was the only month it didn’t happen (two). His power also increased with each out recorded in an inning. Zunino hit eight homers with no outs, 11 with one out, and 14 with two outs.

Pitcher: Three-Way Tie at 1 Home Run

One of my favorite things in the world is to see which pitchers are at the top of home run leaderboards for American League teams. The Rays’ leaderboard doesn’t disappoint with a three-way tie at one between Esteban Yan (2000), Nate Kearns (2015), and Brendan McKay (2019).

McKay’s stats are interesting because 2019 was the only year in which he appeared in the big leagues. He posted a 5.14 ERA in 49 innings, but his hitting stats jump off the page more. He’s the proud owner of a career .773 OPS through 11 plate appearances. McKay collected just two hits, but his stats were padded thanks to his home run.

First Base: Carlos Peña, 46 Home Runs in 2007

Between 2004 and 2006, Carlos Peña slugged 46 home runs with 129 RBI across 894 plate appearances. He needed just 612 plate appearances in 2007 with Tampa Bay to match those numbers (46 homers, 121 RBI). That performance, which included a 1.037 OPS, led to a ninth-place finish in AL MVP voting and his only Silver Slugger Award. As it currently stands, this is also still the only 40-homer season in franchise history.

Upon looking at the breakdown, Peña raked during the middle innings in 2007. Between the fourth and sixth innings, he slashed .344/.471/.791 with 22 home runs and 44 RBI in 210 plate appearances. He also loved facing relievers for the first time on any given night. That scenario led to a 1.084 OPS with 17 homers.

Second Base: Brandon Lowe, 39 Home Runs in 2021

Brandon Lowe‘s 2021 season is one of the most powerful in Rays history. It also sticks out like a sore thumb. Those 39 taters are a career-high mark. The closest he’s come to that number again so far was in 2023 when he slugged 21 homers. It’s worth noting that he played in 109 games that year, which was only the second time he’s gotten over 82 games played since debuting in 2018.

Lowe didn’t enjoy a double-digit homer month in 2021, but he was consistent and also took things to another level in the second half. He hit somewhere between four and nine homers each month. He hit at least six just once during the first three months (seven in June) but did it three times over the final three months of the year.

Shortstop: Brad Miller, 30 Home Runs in 2016

Brad Miller‘s 2016 power surge also came out of nowhere (kind of). He began his career with three seasons in Seattle between 2013 and 2015 and slugged 29 home runs in 1,243 plate appearances. He more than doubled that in his first campaign as a Ray by slugging 30 in just 601 trips to the plate. The only other time he’s even reached 20 homers was in 2021 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Miller hit exactly 20 in 377 plate appearances that year.

Miller’s performance at the plate improved as the situation became more clutch. He hit seven homers with a .728 OPS with no outs. That improved to 11 and .753, respectively, with one out. Those numbers went up one more time with two outs, as he slugged 12 homers with a .881 OPS. The most homers he hit against a specific opponent was the New York Yankees. Miller slugged seven dingers in 19 games played against the Bombers.

Third Base: Evan Longoria, 36 Home Runs in 2016

Evan Longoria‘s 261 homers with Tampa Bay are a franchise record, and it’ll probably stay that way for a while. The 2016 season could very much be viewed as his final elite power performance as a big leaguer. Those 36 homers are a single-season career-high mark for the right-handed hitter. He also hasn’t hit more than 20 in a season since.

This campaign was made possible thanks to what he did between May and July. He racked up 337 plate appearances during this time, leading to a .303/.356/.570 triple slash, 19 home runs, 48 RBI, and 42 runs scored. Longo hit 27 of his 36 homers against starting pitchers. What’s most interesting is when those dingers happened during a game. The third baseman slugged 12 of those 27 taters in his third time through the lineup while facing that night’s starter.

Rays Single-Season HR Leaders at Each Position

Left Field: Greg Vaughn, 28 Home Runs in 2000

Greg Vaughn landed in Tampa Bay after a powerful two-year stretch with two other teams. He slugged 50 in 1998 for the San Diego Padres and followed that up with 45 in 1999 for the Cincinnati Reds. While 28 taters in 2000 for the Devil Rays technically continued a downward trend, it was still enough to find his way onto this leaderboard. It was the second-to-last time the slugger reached the 20-homer plateau during his 15-year MLB career.

While Vaughn’s first-half OPS (.945) was much better than his second-half OPS (.792), his power numbers were the same. He slugged 14 homers with 37 RBI in 254 plate appearances before the All-Star break. Once he returned for the second half, Vaughn slugged another 14 homers with 37 more RBI over his final 291 trips to the plate.

Center Field: B.J. Upton, 28 Home Runs in 2012

B.J. Upton spent eight years with the Rays and surpassed the 20-homer plateau three times. He saved his best work in the power department for last, though. These 28 homers were a career-high mark and it came in his final year with the organization. He wouldn’t hit more than 20 in a season during the rest of his career. He reached that number just once, hitting 20 on the dot in 2016 while splitting time with the Padres and Toronto Blue Jays.

It’s worth noting that Upton found an extra gear in his power swing following the All-Star break. He finished the first half with just seven home runs in 306 plate appearances. That was followed by slugging 21 in over his final 327 plate appearances of the regular season. Upton didn’t hit more than four homers in a month between March/April and July. He followed that up with seven in August and 12 in September/October.

Right Field: Aubrey Huff, 34 Home Runs in 2003

Although Aubrey Huff hit 23 homers with 59 RBI and a .884 OPS in 2002, his 2003 performance should be considered his breakout because the outfielder’s playing time increased from 113 games in ’02 to 162 games the following season. That was accompanied by 34 homers, 107 RBI, and a .922 OPS. It was the first of two times he surpassed the 30-100 plateau, but he never slugged more than 34 taters in a single season.

Tropicana Field witnessed most of Huff’s 2003 homers – he slugged 15 at home. The only away park in which the left-handed hitter slugged more than three homers was the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Huff hit five dingers against the Blue Jays in 10 games played, which was accompanied by a 1.140 OPS.

Designated Hitter: Jose Canseco, 34 Home Runs in 1999

The 1999 season was Jose Canseco‘s only full campaign with the Devil Rays. He certainly made it count. Canseco was named to his sixth and final All-Star Game to represent Tampa. Those 34 homers marked the eighth and final time he surpassed the 30-homer plateau, too. He added 95 RBI with 75 runs scored and a .931 OPS in 113 games played.

Canseco went off in the first half, which is where he did virtually all of his damage. He racked up 31 homers in 364 first-half plate appearances. The right-handed hitter appeared in just 31 second-half games, resulting in only three homers.

Want to see the Rays slug dingers in person? Grab tickets from our friends at Vivid Seats. And before you get to the stadium, make sure you’re decked out in the right gear. Get official Rays merch from the MLB Shop or a ‘Big Dinger Energy’ shirt from our apparel store.

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