By The Baseball Beginnings Guy
April 18, 2011
I had my look at Sonny Gray at UCLA in 2010 and then had one of my trusted bird dogs look him over for me in 2011. The general idea of Gray is that he’s a little guy with a big arm who profiles best as a closer. He is a max-effort guy and there’s going to be durability concerns for some teams. Some teams will like him as a closer. Some teams will take the chance for the big arm, even if his body walks away from his arm at times. The biggest shortcoming I see is that he lacks a dominant third pitch to be the kind of major league starter his fastball would allow him to be. On the plus side, Vanderbilt teammates speak very highly of his moxie and competitiveness. In a program with a lot of good arms, he’s the guy they want on the bump when it matters most. Again, to me, that translates as a closer. I am rather picky with my big league starters, I admit. ML starters need three 50 pitches at the least and most pitchers never get this far. We’ll see what happens with Gray, but if I were GM, we’d be taking him and converting him to a closer the moment we get the contract figured out.
Sonny Gray, RHP
Games: 1, Innings: 7 (2010)
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Average height and build, low center of gravity, gets his power from his hips, thighs and trunk. Short arm.
ABILITIES: High ¾ slot, 2-seam FB 91-94 with downhill sink, 4-seem FB 95-97 with heavy bore to RHH and late giddyup. Hard SL, 84-86, late, sharp bite, tails away from RHH. Shows occasional straight CHG, get-it-over, 82-84. Ordinary command and control of all pitches.
WEAKNESSES: Max-effort delivery and mechanics causes concern for long-term durability.
SUMMARY: Potential lockdown closer for me. Has the arm and stuff to be a No. 1 or No. 2 starter.
GRADES: FB 7/7, SL 6/6, CHG 3/5, Command 4/5, Control 4/5. OFP range = 55-58