Robbie Ray of the Blue Jays pushed to greatness by Randy Johnson

With maximum effort, Chapman-style delivery, an intimidating presence, and two-length shuffle (he throws a fastball or a slider 90 percen...


With maximum effort, Chapman-style delivery, an intimidating presence, and two-length shuffle (he throws a fastball or a slider 90 percent of the time), Ray is essentially a closer disguised as a starter – an unusual formula for durability. Yet, finally releasing his control, Ray forces the hitters to swing, limiting his throws and allowing him to work deeper into plays.

“Opposing hitters know exactly what he wants to do, but he’s sticking to it,” said Toronto infielder Jake Lamb, a former Arizona teammate. “When you’ve got an elite fastball and hitters need to care, that makes his slider even better.”

Ray has a strong contender for the Cy Young Award to Cole, the Yankees ace, who ranks second behind Ray in ERA and strikeouts and has 15 wins to 12 for Ray. But whatever the outcome of the vote, Ray won the bet he made on himself.

“I didn’t want to look back and wish I had done something different,” he said. “I felt like I was being true to myself for just being that guy.”

By that he meant a guy like Johnson, the pitcher he admired the most, who rejoiced from afar at his former student’s progress. Johnson never tried to fix Ray’s mechanics, the essential parts of his transformation. But by helping to sharpen the mental advantage of another wild young southpaw, Johnson made an impact.

“He could inevitably be the staff ace, a guy that you could build the rotation around – I think he’s that kind of pitcher, and it looks like things have clicked,” Johnson said. “For lefties, we might be a little slower developers. I know I was. But he really did develop and I couldn’t be happier for him.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Robbie Ray of the Blue Jays pushed to greatness by Randy Johnson
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