Tigers Scouting Report: LHP Robbie Ray

By all accounts, the key piece of the Doug Fister trade was minor league left-hander Robbie Ray, who shined as a starter across two levels in 2013. What is Ray's ceiling, and when can fans expect to see him in Detroit?

Robbie Ray


Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 10/1/1991 (2014 Opening Day Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6-2/170
Bats/Throws: Left/Left
Acquired: Trade with Washington Nationals in exchange for Doug Fister, 2013
Ranking History: N/A

Background: A 12th round pick of the Nationals in 2010, Ray signed for $800,000 and appeared in one game for short-season Vermont as an 18-year old that summer. Still a teenager in 2011, Ray posted a 3.13 ERA in 20 starts for Low-A Hagerstown while striking out 95 batters in 89 innings. He struggled in 105-2/3 innings in 2012, posting a 6.56 ERA and allowing more than ten hits per nine innings at High-A. A return to High-A in 2013 yielded better results and he was promoted to Double-A around mid-season. With Harrisburg (Double-A) he posted a 3.72 ERA in eleven starts with 60 strikeouts and 21 walks in 58 innings.


2013 Robbie Ray Stats - Pitching
Potomac 1616084.060930294110043.111.206-3
Harrisburg 1111058.05642824216063.721.335-2

Scouting Report

Body: Good height; thin, wiry frame; good natural strength; athletic.

Delivery/Mechanics: Simple delivery; goes quickly from set to balance position; minimal movement in between; drives hard to the plate; high-3/4 arm slot generates good angle to the plate; will get across his body at times, particularly with secondary pitches; falls hard to third base at times; efficient delivery; struggles to repeat at times; has potential for clean, repeatable delivery and athleticism should help that come along.

Fastball: Sits 91-93; touches 95 at times; should have good plane on FB from height and arm slot but elevates the ball too frequently; FB lacks life up in the zone; when thrown down FB shows glove-side run and can be difficult to square; velo unlikely to jump at this point. Grade – Present 6/Future 6+

Curveball: Occasional hard 1-7 or 1-8 CB with depth and bite; lacks consistency; gets around outside of pitch at times; arm will drag on occasion; showed more consistency in 2013; can throw pitch as chase offering to LHH; needs to learn how to back door RHH; improved location of CB will help pitch play up; potential above-average breaker he can rely on in any count. Grade – 4+/5+

Changeup: Making progress but still at least below-average; slows arm speed too often; pitch has sink when thrown with conviction; needs to trust it more frequently; still learning how and when to use it; needs considerable improvement to become MLB quality offering; potential average pitch if it all comes together, but that might be stretching the projection/feel. Grade – 3+/4+

Control/Command: Inconsistencies in the delivery after the balance point have led to control problems; will lose zone at times; can have stretches where strikes are consistent; FB location has never been overly consistent; consistently pitches CB down in the zone (away from LHH); needs to learn to move CB around more; CH command is well below-average; FB works up too often as a result of not finishing delivery completely; must pitch down for maximum effectiveness; chance for average command at peak.

Other: Very good competitor; good mound presence; has confidence in FB; likes to attack; good work ethic; quality athlete.

Final Word

Summary: Very good FB for LHP; can induce weak contact down in the zone; prone to HR when command is off and FB/CH are up in the zone/ CB has above-average potential; CH could reach average with work but likely to come up short of that level; command projection thanks to athletic body, but delivery needs consistency to reach that level; excellent competitor; has raw ingredients to start but could fall back to bullpen long term.

Risk: High risk; limited upper level experience; still raw despite reaching Double-A; needs full grade jumps on both secondary pitches.

Projection: Ceiling as #4 starter if CB, CH and command all come around; could be high-leverage bullpen arm as a floor; cup of coffee possible in 2014 with larger role likely in 2015.

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