Let’s do something a little different this week.
The Seattle Mariners kick off a 12-game road trip Friday when they head to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game set. That means the Mariners will face Everett native and Cascade High School graduate Steven Souza Jr..
Souza is having himself quite the breakout season. The 28-year-old, who plays primarily right field for the Rays, is in his third full season in the majors, and this has been by far his best campaign to date. Going into this week Souza was batting .261 with 25 home runs and 71 RBI, generating a triple-slash line of .366/.505/.871. According to Baseball-Reference.com Souza was leading Tampa Bay in WAR (4.0) and was tied with Logan Morrison for first in OPS+ (137).
For the purposes of this poll, let’s focus on Souza’s power. His 25 homers are already a career high, and that includes his seasons in the minors. Tampa Bay played 119 of its 162 games prior to Monday’s game at Toronto, meaning Souza was on pace to hit 34 homers this season.
Thirty homers is quite the milestone, one that has traditionally separated true power hitters from the rest. Five more and Souza gets there, something just six players in Tampa Bay franchise history have accomplished. And if Souza were to get hot down the stretch and reach 40, he would be just the second Rays player to do that.
So how many homers will Souza finish with? Make your prediction: