Top 15 Mariners of 2023: Former Cy Young Robbie Ray looks to bounce back at #8

Seattle Mariners v Chicago Cubs
Seattle Mariners v Chicago Cubs / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

For the longest time, I've been a patient optimist. I still believe that good things are going to happen, but I tend to hold off on getting excited about them until they are actually happening. It can be about anything, and even annoys my wife once in a while. Trip to Vegas... not excited til we get there. Tickets to a show... again, once we are there. It's always been the same with the Mariners, I'm excited and want them to do well, but I don't get ahead of myself.

Well, until 2023, that is.

There is just something different, as I keep finding myself getting overly excited and optimistic about this year's team. It's Spring, and he has done well before there, but Jarred Kelenic looks like he has made meaningful changes to be an actual part of the lineup. Tom Murphy looks like he might get some time at DH and deserve it. In a long-winded way, I've finally arrived at the point of the article. I'm really excited about Robbie Ray this year.

Robbie Ray comes in as the #8 Mariners player in our top 15 Rankings for 2023

I've been a huge Robbie Ray fan since he got traded to the Diamondbacks back in 2015. Shoot, on a podcast I used to run back in the day I even picked him as my dark horse candidate to win the Cy Young back in 2018. When it was announced that the Mariners were signing him, I was ecstatic. I knew we weren't going to see the same numbers that he put up in Toronto, but a 5/115 was a good number for a back-end #1 or strong #2.

He's still going to strike a ton of guys out, as that has been his modus operandi. The big question is, are we going to see the Robbie Ray from the first part of the season? Or, is it going to be the Robbie Ray from the second half? I'm throwing out the last start, cause it didn't matter at all for the season.

12 starts, 70.2 IP, 4.97 ERA, 4.74 FIP, .246/.319/.474, 9.81 K/9, 1.316 WHIP, 3.44 BB/9, 1.78 HR/9
19 starts, 112.2 IP, 2.72 ERA, 3.49 FIP, .216/.281/.371, 10.54 K/9, 1.074 WHIP, 2.56 BB/9 1.20 HR/9

There was definitely a change made right there, and you can see it in literally every part of his game. There isn't a single stat above that is worse once you get past that 12th start. It also, if memory serves, coincides with him making the change to throwing the 2-seamer/sinker pitch.

We asked fans during the offseason about the rotation, and it was pretty clear that they thought it was Castillo, Kirby, Gilbert, Ray. However, I think Ray is going to be our second-best starter this year. (behind the scenes, I voted him ahead of Kirby and Gilbert in these rankings.) If Robbie Ray can pitch anything like he did over that stretch, he's easily going to be better than #8 this season, and I'm looking forward to it.