Who is Robert Ray?

This guy.  As we have reported, the Jays sent David Purcey, Brian Burres, and Brian Bullington down to the minors and called up Robert Ray, Brett Cecil, and Brian Wolfe to take their places, respectively.  Brett Cecil will start for the Jays on Tuesday against Baltimore, while Robert Ray will get the start tomorrow in David Purcey's spot.  The frustration with David Purcey was easy to detect - he had problems throwing strikes and when he did, batters were keyed in on his fastball because he had so little luck with his offspeed pitches. 

Anyway, righthander Robert Ray will be making his start first, and also his first major league start, so I thought it'd be good to take a look at him.  Ray was originally drafted by the Jays in the 7th round of the 2005 draft, out of Texas A & M "University."  (sorry, Aggies) 

Ray is 25 and had a very good year for New Hampshire and Dunedin last season, going 13-9 over the two levels, with a 3.61 ERA and a 132/45 K/BB ratio over 167 innings.  As you can see, his K numbers are nothing special, but he has done a nice job limiting the walks, typically keeping them to less than 3 per 9 innings.  Ray has just made two starts this season but did a decent job in his most recent start for AAA Las Vegas, pitching 4 /13 scoreless innings and both striking out and walking 3 batters.  Ray also pitched for the Jays in spring training this season, pitching 6 innings and giving up 2 runs with a 3/3 KBB ratio. 

At first glance, a guy who was pitching at A+ ball at 24 doesn't sound all that impressive, and in fact that was Ray's third go-around at Dunedin.  His 2006 and 2007 seasons, though, were marred by injury so that was more of a factor in his stymied development than his talent, which has always been pretty well regarded. 

Ray has a solid fastball that he gets up to 93/94, with good late movement, the kind of movement that makes batter after batter hit balls into the ground.   He also has a pretty good changeup.  His other pitches have drawn lackluster reviews in the past, though they may have improved this season.  Ray is also the Bluebird Banter 12th top Jays' prospect, though that list was compiled at the end of last season and so itneeds revision. 

Ray is a long tall Texan (had to get the song reference in there someplace), at 6'5" and 190.  Welcome, Robert, to the Jays and good luck tomorrow!

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