Going all the way back to 2014/2015, I've been a fan of Robbie Ray. I was a pitcher growing up, and also an odd kid. You know, long hair, earrings, big and lanky. Prototypical teenage pitcher. It's why I find myself drawn to pitchers, especially ones with interesting things related to them. Whether it's how they pitch, what they throw, their style, or cause they wear funny pants or socks.
Hence, Robbie Ray.
It's why I was a big proponent of hoping that the Mariners could get him after he won the Cy Young in 2021. When the news broke that he was coming to Seattle, and reportedly had even called the Mariners about coming here, I was ecstatic. One of my favorite players was coming to the Mariners.
However, 2022 was an up-and-down year for Robbie Ray. He struggled a bit early on, and I attribute part of that to the weather and the wierd rain game in Chicago. Showing how quick some fans can turn (and how dumb they can be), there were calls for him to move to the bullpen.
He turned it around and had a great stretch in the middle/back-half of the season, and ended up with decent numbers. Was it what you want from your #2, who's being paid a solid salary? Probably not, but for the majority of the season he was pretty darn good.
It's why I'm happy to see that STEAMER thinks Robbie Ray is going to pitch closer to that midseason stretch than what we saw on the hole. Here are his 2021, 2022, and STEAMER projections so you can get an idea of the difference and what we might see.
2021 - 32 GS, 193.1 IP, 248 K, 52 BB, 2.84 ERA, 3.9 fWAR
2022 - 32 GS, 189 IP, 212 K, 62 BB, 3.71 ERA, 1.8 fWAR
STEAMER - 32 GS, 191 IP, 219 K, 63 BB, 3.77 ERA, 2.5 fWAR
I think there are two big things that we need to watch with Robbie Ray. Walks and HR. There were plenty of outings in 2022 where we saw him pitch incredibly well in five of the six innings that he was out there. It was that one sporadic inning though, where he would walk a guy, give up a hit, then give up a three-run HR. It made his outing look below average, all because of that one bad stretch.
Of course, limiting some of those walks and homers will bring it down a bit. Especially if he continues to embrace the change he made to his fastball, throwing more or a 2-seamer/sinker to get extra movement on the ball. STEAMER is calling for a decent season from Ray, and one that I think would make most fans pretty happy.