I won’t say that I’ve been annoyed with the talk, simply because there have been pitches that have been legitimately not been good. But there has been a lot of talk about how terrible Chris Ray has been this season.
The problem that I have with that is that he hasn’t really been all that different from Jamey Wright, who everyone loves. Sure they have their differences, but they are few and minimal take a look at the stats below.
Wright has gotten more strike outs but Ray gets more swings and misses. Wright gets more ground balls (in fact a WHOLE lot) but it’s not like Ray is just average. The biggest difference between the two are the line drive percentages and batting average on balls in play.
Obviously, Ray’s fastball hasn’t been as good and he’s left it up at times. But I’ve seen so many ground balls go through the holes for Ray that at other times were being grabbed for Wright. Now I’m not saying the defense plays better for Wright. I’m saying it’s about luck.
You can see that in the differences in ERA and FIP between the two and even more so you can see how many runners Wright is leaving on base versus how many runners Ray is stranding with the league average being around 72%.
Ray has had his moments and I haven’t been his biggest fan. But, let’s realize that there is a thin line between success and failure, even more so for relievers. I think Ray still has value and I’m glad to see the organization has kept him around.
I won’t say that Jamey Wright has been good. It’s been enjoyable to watch, that curve that he’s thrown a few times has looked extremely sharp and the amount of ground balls he’s getting is insane. But Wright hasn’t been untouchable and won’t keep his sparkling 1.75 ERA all year.