Robbie Ray: All Star Profile
PHOENIX— Robbie Ray, along with Jake Lamb, are the primary reasons why this Diamondbacks team is doing so well. I’d put a bit more on Lamb because he’s a positional player but, don’t sleep on Ray. He’s got elite stuff. Take a look.
It’s bizarre. All his pitches lost velocity from the 2016 season. All of them. He’s 25, so, what’s up? I think that’s the point though. He was killing his arm. He had all speed and no command. He’d last four innings and strike out eight batters but he’d also give up like three runs. He’s fixed that now. He made a change to his delivery, speeding it up a little, and that’s done wonders for him this year.
Something that stands out to me is his curveball. Last year he threw it 183 times and batters swung and missed at it approximately 11% of the time. This year he’s already thrown it 405 times and batters are swinging and missing approximately 17% of the time. Big difference.
Ray is third in the NL with 128 strikeouts. He’s third in the Majors with a K/9 rate of 11.52. Ray is stranding 84% of runners on base, good for third in the NL. Batters are hitting .199 against him, third best in the Majors. Ray’s curveball is rated as the second best in the Majors, with 7.1 runs above average rating. Opposing batters aren’t making contact on Ray’s pitches outside the zone. This year he’s posted his lowest O-Zone Contact% of his career, down 12% from last season. He’s also posted his lowest Zone Contact % of his career, down three percent from last season. So in total, overall contact percentage on Ray’s pitches this season is at 68.7%, which is around seven percent better than last year, and a career best. His swinging strike percentage of 13%, up from last season, is also a career high.
When people talk about Ray, they mention how Sandy Koufax was the same way in his earlier years. No command. Now that Ray has control over his pitches, there is nothing stopping him from becoming an ace. The sky is the limit for the 25-year-old lefty. Will he reach it?