Struggling to find consistency this season, Corey Ray decided it was time to simplify things. The 23-year-old center fielder felt his approach at the plate was flawed, and he was trying to do too much. Instead of worrying about mechanics, he opted to focus on pitch selection -- and the
Struggling to find consistency this season, Corey Ray decided it was time to simplify things. The 23-year-old center fielder felt his approach at the plate was flawed, and he was trying to do too much. Instead of worrying about mechanics, he opted to focus on pitch selection -- and the results have been staggering.
The sixth-ranked Brewers prospect has been named Southern League Offensive Player of the Week for July 16-22 after going 11-for-23 with three homers, four doubles, five RBIs and eight runs scored in six games for Double-A Biloxi. It is the first career Player of the Week award for the former top-100 prospect.
"The key to my success has been swinging at good pitches," he said. "Earlier in the season I would chase or try to force the issue, but now I just wait for a good pitch to hit and let everything I've worked on during the offseason, and so far this year, work for me."
After posting a .252 average in April, Ray appeared to get things going by hitting .272 in March. However, he endured a tough stretch in June as he hit .223, and that brought his overall average down to .250. Through 20 games in July, he's currently enjoying his best month by far.
• View the Pitcher of the Week winners »
Ray is in the midst of a nine-game on-base streak, and he's collected at least one hit in seven of those games. The Louisville product has gone yard in three of his last four contests, and his 19 dingers tie him for the lead in the Southern League with teammate Jake Gatewood. Since July 10, Ray is hitting .375/.444/.938 and leads the Minors with 13 extra-base hits over that stretch. His 27 doubles and 195 total bases on the year also rank atop the league.
"I know myself, and my goal was to find swing mechanics that work for me that allow me to be successful at the plate," he said. "And I think I somewhat found those, although it's a process you never stop working on. But I found a base that works for me, and now when I go into the game, I no longer step in there thinking about mechanics. My focus is solely on waiting for better pitches and taking good swings at them."
Ray achieved a three-homer game milestone on July 11, powering the Shuckers to an 8-3 victory over Jackson. Last week the No. 5 overall pick in 2016 notched four multi-hit performances and has been a catalyst for Biloxi's seven-game winning streak. He also raised his batting average 14 points in that span to .259.
Ray's best effort from the week came Sunday when he went 3-for-5 with a roundtripper, a pair of doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored.
"It's a good feeling to be recognized and honored," he said. "I had a good week, but my goal is always to continue to move forward and separate myself every day so that hopefully I can find some consistency from here on out."
Below is the complete list of Minor League Offensive Players of the Week for July 16-22:
|League ||Player ||Team ||MLB ||Stats |
|International ||Eloy Jimenez ||Charlotte ||CWS ||.429/.429/.857, 7 G, 12-for-28, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R, 0 BB, 2 K |
|Pacific Coast ||Ryan Court ||Iowa ||CHC ||.615/.643/.962, 7 G, 16-for-26, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 7 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 SB, 1 CS |
|Eastern ||Hunter Jones ||Harrisburg ||WAS ||.500/.600/.800, 5 G, 10-for-20, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 SB |
|Southern ||Corey Ray ||Biloxi ||MIL ||.478/.520/1.043, 6 G, 11-for-23, 4 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 8 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 3 SB |
|Texas ||Jacob Scavuzzo ||Tulsa ||LAD ||.536/.581/1.071, 7 G, 15-for-28, 3 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 3 SB |
|California ||Sandber Pimentel ||Stockton ||OAK ||.440/.481/1.160, 6 G, 11-for-25, 3 2B, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 7 R, 2 BB, 6 K |
|Carolina ||Li-Jen Chu ||Lynchburg ||CLE ||.600/.680/1.000, 6 G, 12-for-20, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R, 5 BB, 3 K |
|Florida State ||Alex Kirilloff ||Fort Myers ||MIN ||.545/.545/.909, 5 G, 12-for-22, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 CS |
|Midwest ||Keegan McGovern ||Clinton ||SEA ||.429/.538/.762, 6 G, 9-for-21, 1 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R, 5 BB, 1 IBB, 6 K, 1 SB |
|South Atlantic ||Manny Olloque ||Lexington ||KC ||.412/.421/1.118, 5 G, 7-for-17, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R, 1 BB, 7 K |
|New York-Penn ||Hosea Nelson ||Mahoning Valley ||CLE ||.440/.462/.800, 6 G, 11-for-25, 3 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R, 0 BB, 5 K |
|Northwest ||Curtis Terry ||Spokane ||TEX ||.519/.533/.778, 6 G, 14-for-27, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K |
|Appalachian ||Kevin Woodall ||Johnson City ||STL ||.400/.500/1.200, 6 G, 8-for-20, 1 2B, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 8 R, 4 BB, 5 K |
|Pioneer ||Chase Vallot ||Idaho Falls ||KC ||.500/.542/.909, 5 G, 11-for-22, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB, 6 K |
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.