Right now Ray is going as the 57th starter off NFBC boards, right around 214th overall. For the casual fan, it might be hard to see why he’s even going there. He was 8-15 last year and had an ERA close to 5.00. He has a career record of 14-31. He pitches in a strong offensive park. So why all the hubbub? Only the dearly departed Jose Fernandez
fanned more batters per nine innings among qualified starters last year than Ray (11.3 K/9). And when you’re working with stuff like that, it should buy you a lot of equity elsewhere. Clearly, it didn’t with Ray, whose FIP was more than a full run lower than his ERA (3.76), while he posted an above-average groundball rate (45.7 percent) and respectable walk (3.7 BB/9) and home run (1.2 HR/9) rates. Those could stand to come down a touch, but he’s also working with a much better defensive catcher this time around, with defense-first receiver Jeff Mathis
looking to take the bulk of the work back there. That’s the kind of guy who could reel in a wild stallion like Ray, who carries an absurd whiff rate on his slider (20.5 percent) and more than solid marks on his other offerings (9.3 percent on four-seam fastball; 8.5 percent on two-seamer). Also of note with Ray is that he skewed more groundball heavy in the second half (47.7 percent) than the first (44.2 percent). That’ll help keep the ball in the yard.
By Brandon Warne