It’s not difficult to see how recency bias plays a big part in early Fantasy Baseball drafts. Look at the first few rounds and many players that were going in the mid-to-late round of drafts last season are now entrenched in the first few rounds.
One of these players is Diamondbacks left-handed pitcher Robbie Ray. Those who drafted him last season were rewarded in a big way. He turned into an ace and he’s being treated like one with an ADP of 47, according to fantrax.com. This is an overpay and Ray will be overvalued.
There are some appealing qualities with Ray, but there are also some red flags. Ray took huge strides last season, going 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and a 218:71 K:BB ratio in 162 innings. As great as the strikeouts were, Ray still walked too many with a 10.7 percent walk rate. This caused high pitch counts and and Ray averaged fewer than six innings per start.
In 2016, Ray had a 4.90 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and a 218:71 K:BB ratio in 174.1 innings. He had the exact same K:BB ratio last season in fewer innings. Ray had a .352 BABIP in 2016 and .267 last year. Ray’s career average is .319. Another difference was the strand rate. Ray had a strand rate of 68.7 percent in 2016 and a very lucky mark of 84.5 percent last year.
Ray allowed more fly balls last season, going from 32.6 percent to 40.3 percent and his hard hit percentage increased from 36.6 percent to 40.4 percent. While some of these luck factors played a part, Ray did change his pitch arsenal, relying less on the fastball and using a curveball much more in place of a changeup.
Ray is difficult to hit, limiting opponents to a .197 average and he increased his swinging strike percentage from 11.6 percent to 14.2 percent. The home ballpark doesn’t help Ray either. Ray pitched 75 innings at home with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. In 87 innings on the road, Ray had a 1.86 ERA and 0.99 WHIP.
Ray won’t be as good in 2018 as he was last season. It’s not a bold prediction to say Ray won’t post an ERA under three again. The strikeouts will be there and even if the ERA goes up to 3.50-3.75, it’s still good in this era when the average National League ERA was 4.34 last season. The problem is that people are treating him like an ace and he’s not there yet. While pitchers aren’t going deep into games, you want more innings from your No. 1 or No. 2 pitcher than Ray provides. He had only five games of at least seven innings.
Ray is being taken as the No. 13 starting pitcher on fantrax.com. He was taken in the fourth round of the FSTA 14-team Fantasy Baseball draft. Ray showed two years ago how volatile he can be. He was a bargain in 2017 drafts and this year he’s overvalued. Don’t be the one who is fooled by his numbers. Sometimes, you have to take a closer look.