Corey Ray was a 5th round draft pick out of Texas A&M in 2014. Ray stands 6’4″ and weighs in at 175. He spent last season at Northwest Arkansas as part of the starting rotation. The Naturals relied on him to make 29 starts but he averaged just under 5.0 innings a start. He isn’t a big strikeout guy with just 93 in 143.0 innings while allowing 59 walks and allowing 170 hits.
Ray caught my eye this summer during one of his starts. It wasn’t because he was lighting up the boxscore with a bunch of K’s and zeros, but more like because he wasn’t. Ray has good velo hitting the mid-90s consistently, throws a good breaking ball, and has a solid change. I’d seen him throw several times up to that point and it seemed like he should be lighting up the boxscore. For some reason the stuff hasn’t translated from potential to results yet. I think part of that is because the fastball is rather straight and tends to stay a little flat by getting up in the zone at times. Ray could definitely do with some more consistent tilt on the pitch. Averaging just 5 innings a start while allowing almost 8 baserunners in that same timeframe is not a recipe for success. He must find a way to cut down the traffic.
One of my questions is, “What could Ray become in the bullpen?” Hopefully the 96 mph heaters can tick up a notch and become 98 or 99 mph heaters, maybe even touching 100 once in a while. I saw Duffy hit 98 when he came back through Springdale a few years ago so I know it’s possible for a guy’s velo to increase once he quits worrying about the rigors of starting and has the freedom to just blow ched for an inning. And in Danny’s case he went back to the rotation anyway. 2018 will be a big year in determining the future for Ray. There are a lot of questions for him, but one thing is for sure, Ray has a major league arm.
Photo Credit: John Owen