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Rays join the 200-home run club in 2016.

The Tampa Bay Rays took two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays this week and won game three on Wednesday afternoon in huge part to Corey Dickerson’s 20th home run of the season. The bigger news, however, is that Dickerson’s home run was also the record-breaking 200th of the 2016 season for the Rays, breaking the previous single-season record that was set back in 2009. With a few weeks still to go in the regular season, it’s safe to say this year’s Rays will shatter that record as well as possibly wrap up the year with one more piece of history to their name.

If Logan Forsythe, currently sitting at 19 home runs, manages to hit his 20th before the season’s out – it will be the first time in franchise history the Rays (or Devil Rays) have had four hitters with 20+ home runs in a single season.

Rays 2016 home run leaders as of September 15:

3B Evan Longoria – 32 (1 shy of tying career-high)
1B Brad Miller – 28 (career-high)
OF Corey Dickerson – 20
2B Logan Forsythe – 19 (career-high)
RF Steven Souza Jr – 17 (career-high)

With Souza Jr on a bit of a hot streak at the plate, could he even join the 20-home run club this year? It’s very possible. The Rays right fielder has hit four bombs in his last seven games and with 17 games left in the season, hitting three more seems very possible for the 27-year old slugger.

The playoffs are out. But the offense has shown plenty of signs this season of being a force for many years to come. With contract-friendly players like Miller, Dickerson, and Souza most likely sticking around a bit, it’s not far-fetched to say this team could very well be back in the thick of contention in 2017. New hitting coach Chad Mottolla has the rest of this season and into the off-season to continue to get in tune with some of these hitters he’s not familiar with and continue to mold the young guys he knows well having been in the organization for a few years at the lower levels.

It’s not all about hitting the long ball. But if you can – it’s never a bad thing. The Rays need better situational hitting and more consistency with runners in scoring position to compete with the powerhouses in the AL East going forward. Look ahead to the 2017 season, fans. It’s pretty bright. The off-season will be an interesting one – but most likely more on the side of the pitching staff than the offense.

2016 has been one of the more disappointing seasons in recent memory simply because of the expectations after winning 80 games in Kevin Cash’s first year as skipper. But this Rays team can score. They can pitch. It’s just a matter of getting both of those things together and clicking at the same time more consistently.

2017 will be better. Give this new era a chance to pick up steam. Baseball is a funny sport.

The Rays will be just fine.

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