I've been writing for a while on here, and hopefully some of you have been reading my stuff for a while as well. I bring this up because I would hope it's come across that I'm a bit odd in who I root for. I'm more of an underdog guy, against the flow, and enjoy rooting for the wierdo as well. That's why Robbie Ray has long been one of my favorite guys in baseball.
Ray got smoked by a line drive back in 2017, missing about a month of time. He came back to go 6-0 in his last 8 starts with a 2.28 ERA while striking out 67 (!) in 43.2 innings. I bring this up, because to me, that shows insane toughness and mental fortitude to get out there and dominate so soon after taking a line drive to the head.
Then you have the tight pants, which I find hilarious.
Ray didn't get off to a great start in Seattle, posting a 4.97 ERA through his first 12 starts with the team. Not at all what you want from the recent Cy Young winner. It came along with a 4.22 FIP through 11 starts, so Ray was pitching better than his numbers. The next 19 games were somehow overlooked, as Ray posted a 2.72 ERA, a .218/.281/.371 slash line against, and rates of 10.54 K/9 and 2.56 BB/9.
Robbie Ray would be in the #5-8 rankings range if he was healthy
The FIP was in the low 3s, but he was doing exactly what we needed from a pitcher who signed a #1/2 contract at $23M AAV. Somehow, he was still being overlooked by many, with grumblings of "overrated", "overvalued", and "waste of a contract" flying around online.
Sure, a large part of that may be the vocal minority, and that's usually the case online. However, it seemed to be more than that heading into Spring Training in 2023, with many a fan wanting more from Ray. His velo was up in Spring Training, more in line with previous years after being down a tad his first year in Seattle.
Then the first game happened. He looked off, his velo was down, and something just didn't look right. Ray mentioned that his arm was tight/sore, but he thought it was just the cold weather and that it would loosed up. Instead, it was actually his UCL, and shortly into the game it would give, causing Robbie Ray to undergo Tommy John Surgery, missing the entirety of the season after throwing just 3.1 innings.
Set to come back around the All Star break, the Mariners might just have a literal Ace in their pocket. If Ray were healthy heading into the year, he would be right there behind Logan Gilbert in our player rankings, probably pretty close to last year's ranking of 7th. Come the All Star Break, the Mariners are going to be getting back a stud pitcher, and you can find me drtiving the bandwagon into the stadium. There's room for all, so hop aboard.