Randy Johnson: Jays' Ray a 'guy you could build the rotation around'

Mark Blinch / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Hall of Famer Randy Johnson believes Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Robbie Ray has become a No. 1 starter.

"He inevitably could be the ace of the staff, a guy you could build the rotation around - I think he's that kind of pitcher, and it looks like things have clicked," Johnson said, according to Tyler Kepner of The New York Times. "Left-handers, maybe we're a little bit slower developers. I know I was. But he’s really come into his own, and I couldn't be more happy for him."

Johnson, who's a five-time Cy Young winner, said he sees a lot of himself in Ray.

"I enjoy talking to people that are receptive, and Robbie Ray, I could relate to," Johnson added. "I saw firsthand what other people saw in me when I was in the minor leagues or in Montreal. You're just trying to get the most out of him, trying to let him know that you're really good and you've got to dig down deep and keep pushing.

"And it's easy for me to say that now, because I was a late bloomer."

Johnson didn't win a Cy Young until his age-31 season. Meanwhile, the 29-year-old Ray is in a close race with New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole for the pitching award. Neither Ray nor Cole have won the hardware before.

Ray leads the American League in ERA (2.72), innings pitched (182), strikeouts (238), and WHIP (1.03) heading into Thurday's action. He's slated to become a free agent after the 2021 campaign.

Randy Johnson: Jays' Ray a 'guy you could build the rotation around'
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