ESPN recently came out with an article talking about which young pitchers could join the ranks of Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Corey Kluber, Chris Sale and Max Scherzer as the next superace.
I wasn’t surprised that Jon Gray didn’t make the list. He isn’t a potential superace.
However, many argue whether Gray is an ace. I don’t think there is a need for an argument … Gray isn’t an ace.
Those are some harsh words for a pitcher who is probably the best in the Rockies rotation. However, before you throw me to the wolves, let’s compare his stats to other “aces” in the league.
Let’s first look at the superace argument and compare him to the three young players ESPN named potential superaces.
Severino has gone 22-17 with a 3.58 ERA.
Syndergaard has gone 24-18 with a 2.89 ERA.
McCullers has gone 19-16 with a 3.60 ERA.
Gray has gone 20-16 with a 4.40 ERA. All of them have posted these stats in only three years.
The three potential superaces all have higher ERAs than Gray in the same amount of time, but a popular argument is that Gray pitches in the greatest hitters park of all time. You’re right, so let’s look at their adjusted ERA which accounts for the ballpark the pitcher plays at.
The average ERA+ is set at 100. For example, if the average ERA of the league is 4.00 and a pitcher has a 4.00 ERA but is pitching in a hitters park his ERA+ will be over 100.
The ERA for Severino, Syndergaard and McCullers is ERA+ is 123, 136 and 109, respectively. Gray’s is 111. So the hitter park narrative doesn’t work for this situation.