Robert Glenn Ray
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 2", Weight 195 lb.
- High School Brentwood High School
- Debut May 6, 2014
Pitcher Robbie Ray made his major league debut in 2014.
He was selected in the 12th round of the 2010 amateur draft by the Washington Nationals. The scout was Paul Faulk, Jr. Ray turned down a scholarship to the University of Arkansas to sign. He only made one appearance in his first pro season, pitching a perfect inning for the Vermont Lake Monsters of the New York-Penn League. In 2011, he was assigned to the Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League and went 2-3, 3.13 in 20 starts, striking out 95 in 89 innings. Opponents hit just .221. He was promoted to the Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League in 2012 but was roughed up, giving up 122 hits and 85 runs in 105 2/3 innings, to end up with a record of 4-12, 6.56. He tied for second in the league in losses and was third in runs allowed. He tied for second in the Nationals chain in defeats, 5 behind Tanner Roark. Baseball America rated him as the Nationals' #18 prospect.
He was back in Potomac to start 2013, but this time did much better. His record stood at 6-3, 3.11 after 16 starts when he was promoted to the AA Harrisburg Senators on July 5th. After having collected a mere 86 strikeouts over a full season with Potomac in 2012, he already had racked up 100 in 84 innings when he was sent to the Eastern League. He continued to amass them there, adding 60 more to finish with 160 in 142 innings. Overall his record was 11-5, 3.36, and he was once again a top prospect. He tied Caleb Clay for second in the Washington chain in wins (behind Blake Schwartz) and led in strikeouts, 5 ahead of runner-up Nate Karns. His 62 walks, though, were third behind Ryan Tatsuko and Daniel Rosenbaum. The Detroit Tigers had noticed his impressive turn-around as well, as they acquired him from the Nats in a trade on December 2nd. Ray and major leaguers Ian Krol and Steve Lombardozzi went to Detroit that day in return for P Doug Fister.
After starting the 2014 season in the minors, Ray was called up to Detroit when Anibal Sanchez went on the disabled list and made his debut as the starter against the Houston Astros on May 6th. He was an 11-4 winner, giving up only one run over 5 1/3 innings. He made 9 appearances, including 6 starts for a 1-4 record and an 8.16 ERA. On December 5th, he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with IF Domingo Leyba in return for P Shane Greene, completing a three-team trade that also saw SS Didi Gregorius go from Arizona to the New York Yankees.
Ray had the best start of his major league career thus far for the Diamondbacks on July 7, 2015, when he pitched scoreless ball into the 8th inning to defeat the Texas Rangers, 4-2. He allowed 4 hits and a walk in 7 2/3 innings, giving up a pair of runs in the 8th. He went only 5-12 in 23 starts in spite of a decent 3.52 ERA that year. He showed good stuff with 119 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings. He then took a step forward in 2016, although it was not given much attention given the D-Backs had a wretched season. In 32 starts, he put up a record of 8-15, but with an ERA of 4.90. The big improvement was in his strikeout rate, as he finished 4th in the National League with 218, in only 174 1/3 innings. He made 32 starts, so the relatively low number of innings was a result of his inability to pitch deep into games, a result of allowing 185 hits and 71 walks, leading to a lot of traffic on the bases when he was on the mound.
Building on the excellent strikeout rate, he continued to improve in 2017. He pitched his first career shutout on May 30th, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-0, on a four-hitter. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time, although he did not play in the game. On July 28th, he was hit in the head by a batted ball hit by Luke Voit of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2nd inning and had to be carted off the field. The ball caromed high into the air and was caught by 3B Daniel Descalso in foul territory. However, he did not suffer a fracture but was still placed on the concussion list. He was allowed to return to Phoenix, AZ a few days later for further exams, and while there was a decrease in symptoms, he was expected to miss a couple of starts. He returned on August 24th, pitching 5 innings in a 3-2 win over the New York Mets. That was the first of five consecutive winning starts for Robbie, helping to solidify Arizona's hold on the first wild card spot in the National League.
Sources include 2013 Nationals Media Guide
- NL All-Star (2017)
- 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (2016)