While the Milwaukee Brewers have only played five games in the Spring season, prospect Corey Ray is off to a great start. Is this just a few good games, or is Ray on the verge of a breakout?
Corey Ray needed a big 2018 season to get back on the path to the Majors Leagues. He delivered with a .239/.323/.477 slash line, 27 homers, and 37 steals for Double-A Biloxi. Ray should start the 2019 season in Triple-A, but could he climb even higher, and actually join the Milwaukee Brewers this year? He’s already off to hot start in Spring Training.
What has Ray done this Spring?
Ray has already hit two homers and owns a .500/.545/1.200 slash line in four games for the Milwaukee Brewers this Spring. He’s bashed two homers, driven in four runs, and drawn a walk in four games played. He only has 11 plate appearances, but it’s great to see Ray get off to a quick start.
This is a super-small sample size, and it’s probably not the beginning of a larger trend. Keep an eye on his at-bats, and see how comfortable he looks and how many pitches outside the zone he stays away from. If he’s swinging at breaking balls in the dirt, he still needs to refine his approach. However, if he’s able to lay off pitches outside the zone and work counts for his pitch, this could be real.
Who has he homered off of this Spring?
It’s not uncommon for hitters to rack up impressive Spring statistics against inferior competition.
Ray blasted a three-run homer off of Jen-ho Tseng of the Chicago Cubs in the Milwaukee Brewers first Spring Training game. Tseng appeared in the Majors, but he’s not likely to break camp with the Cubs in 2019. Ray also homered off of Alex Wilson of the Cleveland Indians on February 27th. Wilson has spent parts of the last six seasons in the Majors, and owns a 3.23 ERA in 320 2/3 innings.
It is important to note that Ray, a lefty, homered off of two right-handers. 21 of his 27 homers in 2018 came off right-handers.
How long will Ray stay in Major League camp?
Unless the Milwaukee Brewers have a rash of injuries this Spring, Ray is a lock to start the year in Triple-A. However, he’ll stay in Major League camp as long as they have at-bats to give him and he keeps progressing.
The homers are great and always make the highlight reels, but Ray also needs to show that the patience he’s developed in the lower Minors translates to upper Minors and, eventually, the Majors. Ray is still the talented guy that the Milwaukee Brewers drafted sixth overall just a few years ago, but his talent needed to show up in the box score. It has, and as long as it continues, Ray could earn a September call up this year.