Missions watch: Corey Ray

The Brewers' Corey Ray in right field in a spring training game Feb. 26 at Scottsdale Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
The Brewers’ Corey Ray in right field in a spring training game Feb. 26 at Scottsdale Stadium.
One in a series on players with ties to the San Antonio Missions as we get ready for the 2020 baseball season.

One thing we know Corey Ray can do is chase down fly balls.

Ray has been roaming center field and right field in the Milwaukee Brewers’ first Cactus League games of spring training.

The hope is he regains the form that made the 2016 first-round draft pick a rising star in the Brewers’ minor league system. In 2018, Ray hit .239 and showed his power with 27 home runs in 135 games with Double-A Biloxi.

As a San Antonio Missions center fielder in 2019, he was limited to 53 games due to injuries and had a tough time getting in a groove at the plate for most of the season. He was on the injured list from May 23 to July 3. From there he spent a week on a rehab assignment, then went to Double-A Biloxi.

Ray didn’t rejoin the Missions until Aug. 1, when the Pacific Coast League season was more than half over. He batted .188 for the year with seven home runs.

The 25-year-old from Chicago looks healthy enough to have a sunnier 2020 based on his showing in early Cactus League games. Ray was a late-inning sub in the Brewers first spring training game of 2020, taking over in center field on Feb. 23 at American Family Fields of Phoenix.

He was in the starting lineup the next day. He started in right field on Feb. 26 when the Brewers played at the San Francisco Giants’ home field at Scottsdale Stadium. He has gone 1-for-10 to start the spring, but the one hit was a home run.

Adam McCalvy of MLB.com projects Ryan Braun, Avisail García, Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich and Ben Gamel as locks to be outfielders on the Brewers’ opening day roster. That might leave room for a spot for Ray, who is currently on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster.

If not, the 25-year-old from Chicago would probably start the season tracking down fly balls at Wolff Stadium for the second year in a row.

Corey Ray on Twitter

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