Robbie threw thee no-hitters in high school as a senior, including a 5-inning perfect game.
In 2011, Baseball America rated Ray as the 15th-best prospect in the Nationals' organization. He was at #17 in the winter before 2012 spring training, and at #18 early in 2013.
After coming to the Tigers, the book had Robbie at 4th-best in the Detroit farm system heading into 2014 spring training. Then, in the spring of 2015, they ranked Robbie at #7.
But by the time the book was published, Ray had been traded to the D'Backs, and was rated 11th-best in Arizona's organization.
In 2014, Ray went 1-1, 2.45 with a 1.36 WHIP in 11 innings of work in the AFL. Ray left the Arizona Fall League early to get married on Nov. 7.
Ray got the call of his life in 2014 when the Tigers were in need of a starting pitcher because Anibal Sanchez had to be placed on the disabled list. Ray went 1-4 in nine appearances for the Tigers, including six starts.
Though his ERA left a lot to be desired (it was 8.16), Ray impressed the scouts in the Diamondbacks organization. So, when the D-backs were gearing up to trade shortstop Didi Gregorius to the Yankees, they made their move to acquire Ray from the Tigers, the third team involved in the deal.
The D-backs thought they were getting a great pitcher in the deal, but they didn't know they were getting a team lifer. Ray's mom tweeted out a photo of her son from way back in Little League ... when he was also a D-backs pitcher, wearing his Little League D-backs uniform. (Bertha - mlb.com - 3/1/15)
In 2017, Ray was chosen to represent the Diamondbacks in his first MLB All-Star game.July 13, 2017: Ray found himself looking around the National League clubhouse at the All-Star Game and just taking it all in.
"Being in that clubhouse with all those guys, a lot of big-name guys, it was humbling, it was exciting and I enjoyed every minute of it," Ray said. "I don't even know if there's a word to describe it, really. It was just really, really awesome. I just kind of soaked it all in, sat at my locker, looked around and saw all the big-name guys. To be in that room with those guys, it was something special." (S Gilbert - MLB.com - July 15, 2017)
July 28, 2017: Ray was back resting at the team hotel after taking a line drive off the left side of his head in the second inning of the D-backs' 1-0 loss. Cardinals first baseman Luke Voit hit a ball 108.1 mph that hit Ray flush in the head and careened into foul ground by third base, where Daniel Descalso made a diving play on it for the out.
Ray immediately dropped to the ground holding his head as D-backs medical personnel tended to him. Arizona infielders and Voit surrounded the mound and took a knee. Trainers held a towel to the side of Ray's head where there was blood.
"It happened so fast," Descalso said. "I knew the ball hit Robbie somewhere and popped up in the air, and I just went after it, caught it and then tried to go check on him as fast as I could. Everything happened so fast, I didn't realize it hit him in the head."
Ray was moved into a sitting position and then helped onto a motorized cart. The crowd at Busch Stadium gave him a standing ovation, and he waved in appreciation.
"Those are things you never forget," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "I got out there and he was on his back and his eyes were open. That was the first thing that I saw, and I was very grateful for that. Knowing he was able to answer questions and [assistant athletic trainer Ryan DiPanfilo] got out there as fast as he could. I knew we were in good hands."
Ray underwent a CT scan at a local hospital, which checked out well according to Lovullo, and needed some stitches in his head. Ray then returned to the ballpark to shower before heading back to the team hotel. Ray was entered into Major League Baseball's concussion protocol.
It was an emotional night for the D-backs, who were more worried about the health of their teammate than the loss. Reliever Archie Bradley was one of those most affected. He was hit in the face by a line drive off the bat of Carlos Gonzalez two years ago. And he was sitting in the bullpen when Ray got hit.
"It made me sick to my stomach," Bradley said. "Heart started beating fast, stomach started hurting. Especially when you're that close with a guy, baseball really goes out the window. Robbie's got a family, wife and a kid watching the game at home, and that's where my head was. You forget about the game. You forget about everything else. "I was just kind of waiting to hear what the word and status of Robbie was."
Voit was visibly shaken by what had happened, and he stayed near the pitcher's mound until Ray was put on the cart. He had to change his jersey before the start of the next inning because he had gotten Ray's blood on it when he gave him a hug.This is not the first time this 2017 year that Voit has seen a pitcher get hit in head. He was a teammate of Daniel Poncedeleon at Triple-A Memphis when Poncedeleon was struck in the head by a line drive and had to have surgery to relieve the pressure around his brain.
"I sent him a tweet and [send] best wishes to his family and friends," Voit said. "It's scary. Role reversal, that could happen to me when I'm being pitched to. I just hope he can continue pitching for the rest of the year. It's a scary situation. I don't wish that on anyone." The D-backs were relieved when word was passed through the dugout and bullpen late in the game that Ray was doing well. (S Gilbert - MLB.com - July 29, 2017)
June 2010: Robbie signed with the Nationals for a bonus of $799,000 after they chose him in the 12th round, out of Brentwood High School in Brentwood, Tennessee. That pulled him away from a commitment to the University of Arkansas on the last day before the August 16 deadline. Paul Faulk is the scout who signed him.
December 2, 2013: The Tigers sent RHP Doug Fister to the Nationals; acquiring LHP Ian Krol, 2B Steve Lombardozzi, and Ray.
December 4, 2014: The Yankees acquired Didi Gregorius from the Diamondbacks in a three-team trade that also involved the Tigers. RHP Shane Greene was traded from the Yankees to Detroit, while Arizona received Robbie Ray and minor league infielder Domingo Leyba from the Tigers.
- Jan 12, 2018: Ray and the D-backs avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal for $3.95 million.
|DOB:||10/1/1991||Agent:||The Legacy Agency|
|Birth City:||Brentwood, TN|
|Draft:||Nationals #12 - 2010 - Out of high school (TN)|
Ray has an 92-97 mph 4-seam FASTBALL with good tailing action, and a 92-97 mph 2-seam SINKER with good natural sinking movement. He has a 82-85 mph short slurvy-SLIDER that has some depth and is gaining more consistency. But too many are awkward-looking tumblers with loose spin, while his best ones are average.
He also has an 79-83 mph CURVEBALL he rarely shows. And, he has good feel for his late-fading 84-87 mph CHANGEUP -- an average pitch (50 grade) to keep hitters off-balance. Robbie sells it with plus arm speed. (Feb., 2018)
2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 51.2% of the time; Sinker 19.4% of the time; Change 6.1%; Slider 17.3%; and Curve less than 5.5% of the time.
In 2017, Robbie used his 4-seam Fastball 56% of the time, his 2-seam Sinker 3.7% of the time; Changeup 1.3% of the time; Slider 20.2%; and Curve 19%.
In 2011, Robbie worked with Hagerstown pitching coach Chris Michalak on finding a new grip on his changeup. He switched from a circle-change to a three-finger change with kind of a pitchfork grip. His slurves too often are tumblers with loose spin, rating as a 35 pitch. His best ones are near-average (a 45 grade), but the pitch still has a long way to go.
Ray's biggest problem: He doesn't have an out-pitch among his secondary offerings. His changeup is a good one, but lacks a reliable breaking pitch.
Robbie needed some tweaks to his delivery, and now he has decent command. He began incorporating his lower half in his delivery more, and that prevents his arm from dragging behind. But his arm still drags at times, causing his release point and command to be inconsistent, but he is a good athlete with a loose arm, prompting scouts to project his command as at least average.
Ray appeared more confident and aggressive on the mound in 2013.
He could develop into a durable, innings-eating #4 starter.
- Ray struggled with his command in 2012. Prior to his last start of the season, pitching coach Chris Michalak suggested Ray try something new—adding a slight hip turn as he raises his front leg and lifting his arm slot to what Ray called a "high three-quarters" release.
The adjustments felt natural enough to Ray, so he decided to stick with them in his offseason workouts and carried them over into the 2013 season. But he still had occasional lapses in command.
Scouts have questioned his pitching savvy.
In 2014, Ray jumped to Triple-A after just 11 starts at Double-A. He stood head and shoulders above any lefthander in the International League.
May 30, 2017: Robbie had his first career shutout as the D-backs only needed a few timely hits to win at PNC Park. But Ivan Nova was barely allowing them time to get settled, much less timely hits, as he cruised through five innings. Arizona finally broke through against Nova, supporting Ray's 115-pitch gem in a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh.
"Anytime you throw a complete-game shutout, this being my first time, obviously there's that wow factor of, 'Man, that just happened,'" Ray said. "It was a lot of fun."
Ray won the pitchers' duel with his third straight scoreless start and ran his streak to 24 2/3 innings. The lefty struck out 10 without a walk and scattered four hits in the first complete game of his career. Ray also continued his dominance away from Chase Field, lowering his road ERA to 0.64 this season. (Berry - mlb.com)
September 4, 2017: Ray struck out 14 batters in 7 2/3 shutout innings, leading the Diamondbacks to a 13-0 win. Ray became the first player in MLB history with four 10-strikeout games in a season against the Dodgers.
Not only was Ray dominant on the mound, improving to 12-5 with a 2.80 ERA, he also drove in two runs to join Randy Johnson as the only other player in Diamondbacks history with at least 13 strikeouts and multiple RBIs in a game.
- As of the start of the 2018 season, Robbie had a career record of 29-36 with a 4.07 ERA, 574 strike outs, .248 BA against, having allowed 465 hits and 61 home runs in 492 innings.
June 2-11, 2014: Ray was on the D.L.
- July 29-August 24, 2017: The Diamondbacks placed Ray on the seven-day concussion disabled list, a day after he was hit in the head by a line drive against the Cardinals.