Friday, January 8, 2016

DrB's 2016 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #16 Ray Black

Ray Black, RHP.  DOB:  6/26/1990.  6'5", 225 lbs.

A+:  2-1, 2.88, 25 IP, 18.3 K/9, 9.00 BB/9.
AFL:  0-2, 2.00, 9 IP, 16.00 K/9, 6.00 BB/9.

Ray Black was drafted in Round 7 of the 2011 draft out of Pittsburgh.  He then disappeared with a series of injuries over the next 2 years.  He surfaced in spring training of 2014 throwing 100 MPH.  He has continued to battle minor injuries and bouts of wildness, but continues to serve up triple digit heat.  The frightening walk rates that show up in his stat line may not be as scary as they appear at first glance.  Most of his walks in San Jose came during a trial as a SP.  Once he moved back to the pen on July 31, he made 12 one-inning appearances with 7 BB's and 20 K's.  Most of his walks in the AFL occurred in his first 3 appearances.  In his next 6, the K/BB was 12/1.  Speaking of the AFL, Black had the highest average FB velocity in the league at 99.2 MPH.  He also had the highest peak velocity at, get this, 104 MPH!

I am not sure where Black goes from here.  Most likely AA.  He does need to prove that he can stay healthy and avoid wild streaks, but I tend to be of the belief that the FB will play in MLB now and there are only so many of those in his arm.  Might as well get the benefit of them in SF now than try to develop him further only to lose out entirely from an almost inevitable career-ending injury.  One way or another, I think there is a good chance we see Ray Black in San Francisco sometime in 2016 and it will be fun to watch.


  1. I think if he can throw his fastball on the zone better, he could taste the Major Leagues as soon as possible. He's been really wild with his control and will overthrow his cheese but he can locate it from time to time. I feel he just needs to be more aggressive with it. Giants Bullpen 2.0 sure throws harder.

  2. I have read that Black's fastball is more than just fast; that it has quite a bit of movement as well. On the 20-80 scale, I've seen 80 grades for it though I usually see a 70-80 range given. I've also read he has a good change up, but has some difficulty spotting it. I wonder if that might be part of the walk thing as if he's starting, he's going to be throwing more than just fastballs.

    1. I feel he should ditch the changeup and just improve that slurve (slider break with curve velo) and his overall command. Let him think less and focus more on his strength and that's his fastball. He will not start in the future (never should be) and to improve the consistency on the slurve will make him a tough reliever to get by.

    2. A fastball at 99 and a change at 85 is a pretty great combo.

  3. Black on Doc's Top 50:

    2012: 46
    2013: ---
    2014: ---
    2015: 18
    2016: 16

  4. I feel like Black is our future closer with Strickland being setup man

  5. If Black can just improve his control to the point where he is effectively wild instead of essentially wild he will be a terrific weapon out of the pen at the big league level. Imagine having a tired bat late in the game or coming in cold off the bench as a pinch hitter and having to face 100+ mph heat, not knowing if that pitch might be headed straight for you. Not a comfortable at bat! I hope we see Black sooner rather than later in the bigs, before all his bullets are fired off.

  6. One thing to think about as the Giants draft reliever after reliever: these are the guys who spotted Mo Rivera. They departed (for ultimately greener pastures?) and missed out on a few ticker tapes, but Sabean/Tidrow and some others were essential for building the Jankee dynasty. Its not a fluke when they do the same here. A big time closer is a huge weapon. Is Black that? Who knows, but its a good educated guess.