Jon Gray: Starting Pitcher Points: 27 Highest Rank: 2 Lowest Rank: 7
In his first full season with the Rockies, Jon Gray experienced a typical rookie roller coaster of highs and lows. At his best, he proved to be capable of throwing complete-game shutout with top of the rotation stuff. At his worst, he looked like a rattled rookie who battled with control and fatigue at times.
Jon Gray worked a respectable 4.61 ERA over 29 starts in 2016, and held batters to just a .243 average against him. With his first professional season under his belt, Gray should be able to eliminate some of the problems that plagued him early in the season.
Gray struggled with walks early in the season and even hit 12 batters over the course of the year, but control has been a focus during the offseason and heading in to next year. He left a few starts early last year due to high pitch counts from walks, but he should see no limit restrictions in his second year at the big league level.
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One big area for optimism is his strikeout totals from last season. Gray finished the year with 185 strikeouts and a 9.91 K/9 mark. During his first career complete-game shutout against the Padres, Gray struck out 16 batters and walked just four.
The Rockies will rely heavily on Jon Gray in 2017 to be the leader of their young rotation. At just 25 years old, Gray is poised to become a legitimate ace for the club in his second season. A ranking this high is based on high expectations and optimism for the future. If he is able to avoid the dreaded “sophomore slump,” Jon Gray will capitalize on a successful year in 2016 and be even better in 2017.