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Jon Gray 2018 Outlook

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Feels kind of weird to say because he pitches for the Rockies, but I’m in on Jon Gray for 2018 and think he’s pretty underrated. He’s coming off a year where he put up 3.67 ERA with a 9.14 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, and a 0.82 HR/9. Those are very solid rate stats, and those along with an inflated .336 BAPIP (Coors Field doesn’t help), you can see why his FIP and xFIP were so strong at 3.18 and 3.45 respectively. Let’s take a look at his arsenal of pitches!

It starts with the Fastball which he throws about 56% of the time and averages 96 MPH. That makes him one of the hardest throwing SPs in the game. The pitch even has slightly above-average movement, but unfortunately, those traits didn’t lead to any issues for batters making contact with the pitch. It struggled to generate whiffs with just a 4.2% swinging-strike rate and got hit to the tune of .335/.390/.522. On the positive side, it did generate a strong ground-ball rate of 49.2% so there is a chance with some better batted ball luck that the numbers for this pitch improve. Overall it was worth -3 runs above-average which ranked 75th best in the majors among those with at least 110 innings pitched.

Next up is the Slider which is Gray’s best pitch and it’s really good! He throws it about 28% of the time and it averages 89.7 MPH. It gets good whiffs (16.7% swinging-strike rate) thanks in part to a 40.3% chase rate. It also gets lots of groundballs (50.6%). The pitch also posted a respectable 11.1% HR/FB, limiting opponents to a .167 average and .076 ISO. Overall it was worth 9.6 runs above-average which ranked 18th best in the majors among those with at least 110 innings pitched.

Next up is the Curveball which I think really is the difference maker as he took a step forward with it in 2017. He throws it about 14% of the time and it averages 80.1 MPH. Despite mediocre movement on the pitch (not sure how much but some of that is Coors Field related), it produced results! Opposing batters only hit .185/.200/.241 against the pitch, and he actually didn’t give up a single home run with it last year. Now, I’m not sure how sustainable that is as it is the pitch with the highest line-drive and fly-ball rate in his repertoire (32.3% and 32.3% respectively), but it does miss bats at a pretty good rate of 12.1% and it’s two years in a row now that it’s gotten results. Overall it was worth 1.9 runs above-average which ranked tied for 43rd best in the majors with Jake Arrieta among those with at least 110 innings pitched.

Last up is the Changeup which he throws very infrequently at 1.42% of the time and it averages 86.7 MPH. Despite a lack of drop, the pitch was great at getting whiffs (well above-average 18.2% swinging-strike rate), with a 55.6% contact rate. It didn't allow any home runs in a very small sample (threw it just 22 times in 2017) but did give up a .375 average against it when opponents did make contact. Overall, it was worth -1.3 runs above average.

As you can see, Gray has a pretty solid 4 pitch mix, with 3 breaking ball/off-speed offerings that generate whiffs and a ridiculously hard fastball that has potential despite mediocre results. Interestingly, some of Gray’s plate discipline metrics backed up in 2017, and I think the reasoning is two-fold…one is he threw his slider less in 2017 and threw his fastball more. The 2nd part is his Slider got a lot fewer whiffs in 2017 (24.5% swinging-strike rate in 2016 on the slider which is ridiculous) despite actually having more movement. So I think it’s somewhat of an anomaly on the slider as he’s got a career 21.5% swinging-strike rate on it, and perhaps we see the Slider become one of the better whiff inducing pitches in baseball again in 2018. Overall there is a lot to like under the hood, he’s got tons of swing and miss stuff and his improved control showed with a career-best walk rate. If it weren’t for Coors Field, I think you would be looking at a guaranteed top 20 SP, and that represents his upside but Coors Field brings his floor closer to league average plus hurts his durability (it’s more difficult to rest and recover at altitude). I think there’s a decent chance Gray posts a low 3’s ERA with over a K an inning and a mid 1.2’s WHIP on a decent Rockies team that should give him plenty of run support. There’s not many SPs going as late as him that offer his upside. I’m buying at his ADP (NFBC ADP of 164) and hoping he can stay healthy!

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He had a nice start yesterday 4.1 innings 0 runs 9ks...Hopefully this is the Jon Gray that will show up during the season

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The Padres are in talks to acquire Jon Gray from the Colorado Rockies.

 

That's what it would take for me to draft this guy.

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20 minutes ago, dkrocka said:

The Padres are in talks to acquire Jon Gray from the Colorado Rockies.

 

That's what it would take for me to draft this guy.

 

Thanks! I'll enjoy the strikeout or more per IP,  the QS, and the serviceable ratios that I got for an extremely low price after you passed on him.

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1 hour ago, dkrocka said:

The Padres are in talks to acquire Jon Gray from the Colorado Rockies.

 

That's what it would take for me to draft this guy.

Link?

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2 minutes ago, terminator10 said:

Link?

That isn't real.  It is the poster expressing skepticism over a pitcher because he is pitching in Colorado.  Read his post as "It would take Gray moving to a better park for me to consider him."

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Posted (edited)

He's actually one of the pitchers I'm targeting along with Castillo and Clevinger.

 

He's worlds ahead of the guys ranked around him. Chase the K's to fill out your rotation

Edited by dkrocka

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On ‎3‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 2:01 PM, dele said:

 

Thanks! I'll enjoy the strikeout or more per IP,  the QS, and the serviceable ratios that I got for an extremely low price after you passed on him.

 

Enjoy the high ERA to go with it!

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Got in major trouble in the 1st and it could've been much worse. I started him confidently in Arizona with the absurd Humidor hype. Hoping he can pull himself together and make it through 5 IP with a few K's and minimal damage. But color me Gray not impressed..

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If you got an upset stomach just go ahead and don’t look at that line.  That was an absolute hideous display.  One start, need to see more.  But he has zero idea where his ball is going.  He has a lot of work to do before he’s trusted in shallower leagues.  

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Everyone send Rusin a Christmas card.  This line should of been much, much worse.  

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Well I had higher hopes than this away from Coors, damn. 

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He was shaky to start last year too

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4 hours ago, chud12 said:

Well I had higher hopes than this away from Coors, damn. 

 

In fairness to Gray, he was worse on the road last year. 

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Gray was surprisingly better at Coors last year, and also, I think he's suffering from the hangover of the WC loss last year in AZ. Can't shake the D-Backs. 

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Absolutely disgusting.  

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2 minutes ago, Cmilne23 said:

Absolutely disgusting.  

Coors gonna Coors. But yeah Gray not helping himself tonight.

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I don't think you can blame Coors when you're giving up 3-run jacks to Clayton Richard. That's just on Gray for stinking it up. 

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Back to back scuds from Clayton Richard and some dude named Asuaje?  

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Please lord get him out of the game.

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Are we tossing him out against the Nats?  If so how many homers does Harper hit against him?

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