Feb 25, 2015; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies pitcher Jon Gray (55) fields a ground ball as teammates look on during a work out at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
As the season gets underway, RoxPile.com is making some fun (but completely unqualified!) predictions about how members of the Colorado Rockies will fare this summer. In this edition: Jon Gray.
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Jon Gray is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting prospects in the pipeline for the Colorado Rockies, and his ascension to AAA already leaves Rockies fans excited for the future with a power pitcher who can hopefully anchor the rotation.
However, once he’s gotten to Albuquerque, well, things haven’t exactly gone to plan as the team would’ve hoped. When will he figure it out in Albuquerque? When can he help the club in Denver? And what should we expect out of Jon Gray this season?
What The Numbers Say
FanGraphs lists various projection systems, which you can learn more about here.
The Steamer projections on FanGraphs believe Jon Gray is due to spend about half the year in the Rockies’ rotation, starting more than 15 games and actually throwing fairly well (under 4.50 with both his ERA and FIP). Additionally, Steamer likes Gray to strike out nearly 8 batters per nine innings, which would immediately make him one of the most prolific strikeout artists in the Rockies’ current rotation if he can match a rate near their projection.
More so than most of our Crystal Ball series, guys like Gray are very difficult to project, because, well, there’s no big league track record to go off of when coming up with the numbers. I’d assume more than 15 starts is a lot for Gray, but that’s the number they’ve given. We’ll see if it holds to be true.
White Cleat Beat
The Rockies might need to mix it up in their rotation with Kyle Kendrick struggling and all of the starters failing to go deep into games. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Gray were ready to take the big leagues by storm and establish himself as the stud we all hope he will become?
It might be a stretch this year considering his slow start in Albuquerque and the need to develop him instead of running him up to the big leagues just to do it, but a dominant second half by Gray would really be a fun thing to see.
I think we are already seeing some of Gray’s worst-case scenario, started when he had that final poor Spring Training start against the Cubs and continued through his first several very hittable appearances in Albuquerque where he looks like a different pitcher from what the Rockies had seen in the past.
Granted, it’s early, and he’s young, and he’s at a new level very quickly, so there’s no need to remove him from your prospect lists any time soon. But, it’d also be good to ease our collective minds’ to see him establish himself in AAA and get outs consistently at that level at least fairly soon.
I am pessimistic about Gray’s arrival to the big leagues this year; remember how bad Eddie Butler was last season, after all. It’s important not to rush these guys, but actually let them develop into pitchers (and look at how much Butler is starting to show us in his starts this season!).
Knowing that, I think it’s entirely plausible Gray will spend the entire season in AAA (or, at least, until it’s time for September call-ups), and I think that’s a good thing. Rockies rotation problems aside, Jon Gray is not a stop-gap to fix a leaking rotation in 2015 – he’s a long-term pillar on which you’d like to build many future rotations. There’s no sense in rushing him up just to get innings or replace a pitcher like Kyle Kendrick if Gray isn’t outwardly ready and chomping at the bit in his own right.
Give us your predictions!