Jason Ray, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Jason Ray is a 22 year old right hander who was a nice surprise in '05 after being an 8th round pick out of Azusa Pacific. He's a short (5'11") righty who looks likely to end up in the bullpen.
Ray was converted from the outfield in college and he's still a thrower more than a pitcher. He cooks with gas thanks to great arm strength, working mainly with a low to mid 90's heater and a mean curve. He doesn't have a third pitch worth mentioning and his command needs a lot of work.
That's a big difference in levels. The Cal League is a lot tougher on pitchers than the Midwest League, but not THAT much. Ray overpowered MWL hitters, allowing hitters only a .564 OPS. In the Cal League he started getting eaten up by hitters that knew how to exploit his walk rate. The A's moved him to the bullpen in early September and he took off again. His starter/reliever splits from Stockton are alarming as he posted a 6.81 ERA with a 27/37 K/IP ratio in the Ports rotation and a 1.96 ERA and 21 K in 23 IP.
Ray is not a premium prospect, but anybody who can work in a couple of nice pitches has a chance of being a pretty good Major League reliever. He needs to work on getting more ground balls and eliminating his problems with the free pass. Both issues are problems with his mechanics. He's an interesting sleeper, no more, no less. He'll likely start 2007 back in the San Joaquin Valley.