We’re on to our last Milwaukee Brewers 2018 community top prospect, former first round pick Corey Ray.
Corey Ray, OF
AA Biloxi Shuckers: 600 PA, .239/.323/.477, 27 HR, 37 SB
It was the year many Brewers fans were waiting for: a Corey Ray breakout. Ray’s first two seasons down on the farm wasn’t what was advertised. The scouts said he’d be a quick riser, a great hitter and dominant force in the minors. Instead, the first two seasons for Ray resulted in an OPS of .678.
In 2018, Ray changed his batting stance and the results showed. His 27 homers more than doubled his career total and there’s always a lot to be excited about when a player almost has a 30-40 season.
Ray also impressed in the field, continuing to show good instincts and using his superior speed to make up for any mistakes that challenged him. He mostly covered centerfield, where his speed should make him a plus defender, but saw some time in each corner outfield spot.
While Ray’s season should be celebrated, it comes with a lot of buts. The power was there, but many reports were that he was selling out his hitting ability to hit homers. That resulted in Ray striking out more than 29% of the time.
Ray also seemed to have his home ballpark working for him. In most years, MGM tends to grade as a pitchers park, but in 2018 it was very favorable for left-handed hitters. In fact, it allowed the second-most left handed home runs of any ballpark in baseball. In 69 games, Ray hit 20 of his 27 homers at MGM, versus 7 in 66 games away. Rays OPS was also .160 higher at home.
Ray’s season was phenomenal and should be applauded, but it’s not quite time for fans to give him a pass. There’s still a lot of risk given his issues at the plate. Hopefully, he can put it together and have a long successful career in Milwaukee.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference