Feb 25, 2015; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies pitcherJon 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
The Colorado Rockies finally decided to promote their top pitching prospect. He might not have been ready two months ago, but now’s as good a time as any.
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So I don’t know if you heard, but the Colorado Rockies are starting Jon Gray tonight against the Seattle Mariners and Vidal Nuno. (Just kidding, I know you’ve heard, because absolutely nobody can shut the hell up about it since literally nothing else is going right for the Rockies this season.)
I’ve written about Gray before — and asked about six weeks ago that the Rockies keep him down in AAA (which, thank goodness, they did). Staff writer Andrew Dill took somewhat of the opposite perspective, arguing Gray was in line and ready two months ago.
None of that matters now, though — the Rockies called up Gray and that’s that. Judging by the point in the season, and the Rockies’ place in the standings, Gray will likely be up here for the rest of the year. Good! It’s time.
Say what you will about the Rockies and whether they should’ve called him up earlier (I disagree with you still), now is as good a time as any to call up Gray, and let’s be real, he’s earned it.
To wit: Gray threw five scoreless innings (limited by weather delays) in his last start in Albuquerque, striking out eight while giving up just three hits and a walk. In his last three starts in Albuquerque, Gray has allowed just two earned runs in 15 innings, striking out 20 hitters and allowing just 14 hits and six walks.
In his last ten starts, Gray is 3-1, 3.48 with 54 hits and 23 walks allowed in 54.1 innings, while striking out 69 hitters. Overall, even with the terrible first few starts he had to the season, Gray has managed to hold opponents to a 4.33 ERA in a very hitter-friendly park while tossing up a 110:41 strikeout to walk ratio.
All these things combined, plus his stuff, plus his pedgree as a first round draft pick out of a major college, and it had to be time for Gray in Denver. He’s got an advantage over the last guy who did this — Eddie Butler, last year — in that Butler had exactly zero AAA starts before the Rockies promoted him to Coors Field. Gray has now gotten 20 starts in the Pacific Coast League. Even that will make a big difference.
Could Gray blow up and allow ten runs in his start? Absolutely. Could he also throw eight shutout innings? Uh… sure. Whatever he does, one start will not make or break his career (we’ll talk about that in another post after the game!!), but he’s at least developed himself to the point where he’s now officially in the big league conversation — a conversation that, regardless of where he goes, he will likely find himself a part of for years to come.
The only thing left to be decided in the next two months with Gray, since the Rockies are playing for nothing, is whether or not he’s going to have a seat at the table in the 2016 rotation based off his play in the next few weeks. Don’t expect too much from him now, but… ah, hell. Enjoy it. Pitching prospects are rare in Denver. Maybe he’ll be incredible tonight!