Jayce Ray joined the Wingnuts in 2015 with an already impressive pedigree, having been named All-Pac 12 as a senior at the University of Washington and then garnering the Pacific Association MVP award for his 2014 season with the Sonoma Stompers. So it was of little surprise when the Sonoma, Calif., native made an instant impact in Wichita, hitting .310 in 89 games while spending time at all three outfield spots. The left-handed hitter was a consistent force at the top of the Wingnuts order, finishing five in the American Association with 56 walks and posting a stellar .422 on-base percentage as Wichita rolled to a 59-41 record and another South Division title.
Ray’s performance earned the attention of the Boston Red Sox, who snapped up the outfielder shortly after the conclusion of the 2015 campaign. Ray bounced between three different Red Sox minor league affiliates in 2016, starting with Class A Greenville where he hit .378 in 12 games. That hot start earned him a promotion to Double-A Portland, but he was reassigned to High-A Salem after just two games. All told, Ray finished the season with a .340 batting average over 47 games, continuing to display his impressive plate discipline with more walks than strikeouts.
The Red Sox released Ray after the 2016 season, setting up a return to the American Association with the Sioux City Explorers. Spending most of the past year as the Explorers left fielder, Ray had another very productive campaign, nearly matching a career high with six home runs in addition to hitting .289. The 28-year old also proved more than proficient on the base paths, swiping 22 bags in 24 tries. Ray was selected as a Mid-Season All-Star Game replacement, filling in for injured shortstop Nate Samson on the American Association side. He drew a walk and scored in his only plate appearance, taking over in centerfield for the Wingnuts Harrison Kain.