In his first full season in the big league rotation, Jon Gray took strides toward becoming the frontline arm the Rockies were hoping for when they selected him with the third overall pick in the 2013 draft. He improved on many fronts, raising his K/9 to an outstanding 9.9, increasing his GB/FB ratio to 1.65 and upping the average velocity of his fastball above 95 mph. Walk rate was one of the few areas that saw a slight regression, as his BB/9 increased ever so slightly to 3.2. His ERA, although improved from 2015, still sat at a less than desirable 4.61, although his 3.60 FIP suggests luck wasn't on his side. All in all, 2016 was a step forward for Gray, and at only 24 years old, he should continue to progress as he works toward being the top gun in the Rockies rotation. Coors Field will never be his friend, but he was actually better at home (3.16 FIP) than on the road (4.05 FIP) last season, suggesting that he is capable of handling the thin Rocky Mountain air.
Gray left Friday's outing due to left foot soreness, MLB.com's Thomas Harding reports. The Rockies' top pitcher had an early departure from his outing Friday, and because he didn't appear to be favoring anything as he left the mound with the Rockies' training staff. It has since been diagnosed that his left foot, the front foot in his delivery, was ailing him. The extent of his injury has yet to be revealed, so it should just be considered soreness at this time.
Gray (undisclosed) had an early exit from Friday's outing and walked off the field with the Rockies' training staff, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports. This is certainly a concern for Gray and the Rockies as the young right-hander was lining himself up to be the Opening Day starter. Harding noted that Gray didn't appear to be favoring any one body part, so it's unclear at this time what the exact issue is. More information regarding Gray's early exit should be made available following Friday's game.
Gray has been solid this spring, allowing one run on three hits to go with three strikeouts in four Cactus League innings. The 25-year-old is experimenting with a new changeup grip this spring, and the early returns are certainly promising. The lone run he allowed was on a home run, but outside of that blemish, he's been impressive to begin the spring. Gray is vying for the honor of being the Opening Day starter, and although manager Bud Black is remaining noncommittal as of now, the former first-rounder seems like a frontrunner for the nod. Regardless, Gray will look to shoulder a bigger load in 2017 as one of the leaders in a youthful Rockies rotation.
Gray is going to test out a new grip on his changeup this spring with the hope of commanding it better, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports. The 25-year-old emerged as an ace-caliber pitcher for Colorado last season after setting a Rockies rookie record with 185 strikeouts, but Gray is hoping to improve even further. Due to the high velocity of his fastball, Gray's changeup was historically his best secondary offering, although his recently-developed curveball surpassed it as his second-most effective pitch last year. Part of the problem could have been that his changeup traveled at the same speed as his slider for much of the year, but with his new approach, he hopes to make his changeup more like a slower version of his heater rather than a dipping and diving secondary offering. His upcoming spring appearances should shed light on how this change will impact his success in 2017, but this adjusted grip could help to enhance his other offerings if everything goes as planned.
Gray suffered his seventh loss of the season Sunday versus the Diamondbacks, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk across seven innings. He struck out three. Gray cruised through six innings, but he was done in by a seventh inning in which he allowed three consecutive hitters to reach base before a three-run homer by Socrates Brito. He didnt have his strikeout stuff on hand either, as the three punchouts marked a season-low for an outing of this length, but the 18 he managed over his previous two starts suggests that he should bounce back in that regard. He will face a more favorable matchup next time he takes the mound Saturday against the Padres.