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D.J. Short explains why he wouldn't be surprised if Robbie Ray continues to pitch well for the Blue Jays and fantasy managers all season.
DJ SHORT: Blue Jays left-hander Robbie Ray was an All-Star in 2017, finishing seventh in the National League Cy Young Award balloting. But he might be better than ever so far this year.
What's his secret? And don't say it's the tight pants. First, we're talking about a remarkable progression here. Ray struck out 68 batters in 51 and 2/3 innings last year between the Diamondbacks and the Blue Jays. So missing bats has never been the problem with him. Control though, has been a major trouble spot. He walked 45 batters last year, leading to a 6.62 ERA.
As of Thursday, June 10, however, he has walked just 14 batters in 64 and 1/3 innings this season while still missing bats at his usual career norm. He's yet to walk more than two batters in a start dating back to April 18.
Peppering the strike zone has come at a cost though, as he's been in the bottom 5% in the league in average exit velocity and hard hit percentage. That explains the number of home runs Ray has allowed this year. But this new approach is working for him. And with the dominant stuff that he has, don't underestimate his chances of keeping it going all summer long.