I legit have called about half the Diamondbacks’ hitters sleepers this year, but when you venture into pitching territory you best come with your guns blazing like Jon Bon Jovi in Blaze of Glory or don’t’s come at all. I wanted to call Taijuan Walker a sleeper, and I kinda did when I wrote up his trade post (click his name and you’ll get there, I have faith in you). I don’t think Greinke will be underrated, I can’t stop looking at Patrick Corbin for the damage he did to my psyche last year — I’m damaged, y’all! — and here’s I am for Robbie Ray, Martha Raye’s illegitimate son with Mark Harris. When I say Ray, you say ‘don’t play.’ Ready? Ray! Don’t play! Ray! Don’t play! Ray Fosse! Musical starring Jamie Foxx with lyrics by Bob Fosse about a 1970s catcher who was lawnmower’d by Pete Rose! Damn, you’re good! Last year, Robbie Ray had an ERA of 4.90. And, this post is over. Goodbye! Holy schnikeballs, what the hell do we want with him? Or more seguey… So what can we expect from Robbie Ray for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
Well, his previous year ERA should take care of the ‘what makes him a sleeper’ shituation. 2017 rankings will start next Monday and as I go through them all, putting the finishing touches on things (mostly trying to put touches on Giancarlo), I see there’s less than ten starters that will have a K/9 as good as Ray’s in the projections. At least eight of them are fairly obvious too. Ray was the big surprise for me, along with one other guy. The other surprising one… Well, let’s say, if Robbie’s name were Robbie G. Ray, then two of the starters would have the same 2nd half of their names, and I’m not talking Sonny. The previous was written as a riddle on purpose, at least that’s what I’m telling myself. There’s a bit of unfortch in all of this for Ray. His K/9 was great last year too when he had a 4.90 ERA. Should we write him off? He’s 25 years old; Max Scherzer wasn’t good until he was 26. Last year, Ray accumulated all the lavish Ks with a 94+ MPH fastball, a tick up from previous years. He doesn’t put a lot of pressure on his arm either, throwing that fastball 71% of the time and barely thinking off-speed stuff. This is mostly due to his inability to locate breaking stuff. Then the pitches hitters did hit, they hit hard. He was third worst in the league for Hard Contact Rate, but in front of him on the list was breakout pitcher, Danny Duffy, who also throws hard. Could it be that if you throw hard, hitters will hit it hard? Sure, but more accurately, they’ll hit it hard when they expect a pitch, and if Ray throws the fastball so much, people can sit on it. Don’t want to make this too much about Duffy, but he works with better command. Ray had a 3.7 BB/9 last year. Throw enough walks in Chase Field and some will bite you in the ass. This all sounds negative, but Ray’s had better control in the past. He doesn’t need a sub-2 BB/9 to be effective. If he can lower his walk rate to 3.2, it should inform his fastball control and less hard contact. That, combined with his 11 K/9, and you have a guy that could be a top 20 starter next year. Fo’realies. Or is that fo’Raylies? Hmm…Maybe not. For 2017, I’ll give Robbie Ray the projections of 13-9/3.67/1.24/226 Ks in 190 IP. Worst case scenario, you draft him and Jarrod Dyson and name your fantasy team, Robbie & Stealin’. S’s and g’s make everything better!