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Attention Colorado Rockies: It’s Time for Jon Gray

July 1st, 2014 at 5:00 AM
By Joe Lemere

Yorvit Torrealba, Walt Weiss from Flickr via Wylio? 2013 Keith Allison, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

As is usual with the Colorado Rockies, there's some good news and some bad news. First, the bad. Starter Jhoulys Chacin has landed on the 15-day DL because, well, because he plays for the Rockies. Chacin is the 10th player on the Disabled list this season. Now the good news. The rotation is in shambles. Why is that good news? A catastrophic rotation means moves are likely to be made besides Chad Bettis and moving Franklin Morales back to starting games. One such move the Rockies need to make sooner rather than later is bringing Jon Gray up to the Bigs.

Gray was the third overall pick out of Oklahoma in the 2013 MLB Draft, a top-20 prospect coming into the season, and has been very successful thus far in his minor league career. This season he is 7-3 in 15 starts with a 3.76 ERA and a 1.139 Whip. He has a lightning fastball and a wipeout slider that has resulted in 73 strikeouts in 79 innings pitched. Despite the dynamic stuff, Gray can control his pitches, only walking 22 batters this season, meaning his K/BB ratio is 3.32. To illustrate how important that number is, the highest strikeout to walk ratio of any Rockies starting pitcher whose made at least four starts this year is the 2.00 posted by Tyler Matzek. One would expect Gray's strikeout number to dip when facing big league hitters, but with his current 8.3 K/9 ratio, he could strike out two fewer batters a game to meet the team average of 6.5. Gray is also going six innings in just about every start, which would give the man pictured above, Manager Walt Weiss, some more flexibility and creativity with the bullpen.

Besides Gray's stuff and his stats, there's one other big thing that should be shouting in GM Dan O'Dowd's ears every time he makes a roster move. Eddie Butler. Yes, Butler was mediocre at best in his one start before getting injured, but hope was instilled in the fans. Going into the All-Star break behind the division leaders by double digit games most likely, Gray would put butts in the seats and cash into Owner Dick Monfort's pockets. And if this season is to be wasted because of all the injuries, a call-up would get Gray some experience at the Major League level.

The Rockies as an organization are known to be cautious with their pitching prospects, but it's time they trust one of their young guns. O'Dowd keeps drafting high-ceiling pitchers and promises the fans they'll be golden, but then doesn't trust them enough to put them in the crucible of starting Major League Baseball games. If ever there's been a pitcher to trust in the organization it is most certainly the 22 year old whose fastball can touch 100 mph. Come on Mr. O'Dowd, you can put your trust in Franklin Morales or Juan Nicasio to start games for the Rockies, but not Jon Gray?

The most spectacular pitching prospect the Rockies have ever had needs to get to the Show this year. Pitching in Coors Field is no picnic, but give Jon Gray the opportunity to prove himself. With his stuff, he just may be the guy to have some staying power for the Rockies.

Tags: Baseball, Colorado, Colorado Rockies, Dan O'Dowd, Jon Gray, MLB

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