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On Losing Chris Ray

A quick note on the outgoing player that we know of in the Bengie Molina trade: don’t worry about losing Chris Ray.

This is selling high. The Rangers were very lucky to have allowed just 12 runs over Ray’s 35 innings pitched. The underlying performance was much worse.

Ray’s 4.55 K/9 rate was horrible, especially for a “power reliever.” Mere average is around seven, and that’s brought down by starters; a reliever should be better. And for every player he struck out, Ray walked one, which is also far worse than the average rate.

He did a passable job on keeping hitters from getting good contact off of him, but his 4.63 tRA was still significantly worse than his ERA. And those skills are a lot less repeatable than strike outs and walks. Ray’s FIP was 5.28. And xFIP thinks he was even luckier than that, taking the runs allowed per nine up to 5.88 after normalizing his HR/FB rate.

 

The reason runs weren’t scored off of Ray at the rate you should expect was because of a very unsustainable .214 batting average on balls in play. He was below replacement level in his time in Texas (-0.2 wins, the exact total he put up all of last season).

 

In short, Ray was a very bad reliever who could not consistently miss bats or find the strike zone at a reasonable rate. We’re very fortunate he didn’t allow as many runs to score as he should have, and, in any argument about the Molina trade, one plus should be Ray’s extremely likely regression coming in San Francisco, rather than Arlington.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.