Player: Jonathan Gray
Drafted by: Rockies (No. 3 Overall)
DOB: 11/5/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’4”/195 lbs
Selected by the Royals in the 13th round of the 2010 draft out of Chandler (Okla.) High School, Gray decided to attend Eastern Oklahoma State College rather than begin his professional career. Exactly a year later, the right-hander was drafted for the second time, this time by the Yankees in the 10th round, but chose to honor his commitment to the University of Oklahoma.
Gray put himself on the draft radar as a college sophomore in 2012, as he registered a 3.16 ERA and 9.12 K/9 at the front end of the Sooners’ starting rotation. However, he chose not to pitch over the summer in one of the premier collegiate leagues, which made evaluating the right-hander especially difficult.
Therefore, although he was regarded as a potential first-round talent headed into the spring, it wasn’t until the 21-year-old took the mound this season as the team’s Friday-night starter that he began to "wow" scouts. Since then, Gray has skyrocketed up the draft board and made a strong case to be selected first overall on June 6.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Classic power pitcher frame at 6’4”, 240 pounds; broad shoulders; strong lower half and core with a knowledge of how to use both; drives off the rubber; power doesn’t require maximum effort; fast and fluid arm action; explosive; can appear stiff at times; will still get underneath the ball and drag arm; has a feel for his mechanics and understands when to make adjustments; possesses the stamina to work deep into starts; demonstrates body control overall; rarely rushes delivery; can pull open with front shoulder at times and lose pitches up and to the arm-side; will occasionally lose the feel for his release point from the stretch; can offer left-handed hitters too good of a look at the ball at time of release.
Effortless plus-plus velocity; borderline elite; registers in the 94-98 mph range deep into games; will crack triple-digits early in starts; has topped out at 102 mph this spring; fastball is reliant upon velocity and explosiveness; lacks movements; some late life to the arm side, but not much; showcases ability to command pitch to both sides of the plate; doesn’t shy away from challenging hitters; bulldog mentality on the mound can make the pitch play up.
Vastly improved command and consistency of the pitch is one of the main reasons he’s emerged as a top-flight draft prospect; consistently 85-88 mph; late, wipeout break; sharp tilt with great pace; present plus offering; change to be a legitimate plus-plus; feel for throwing it for a strike early in the count; throws pitch with conviction; will need to bury it more as a professional; regardless, it’s good enough to get out big league hitters right now; devastating pitch when located at the knees and below.
Straight changeup is weakest of his offerings; average pitch with the chance to improve a grade; 81-84 mph; thrown with convincing fastball-like arm speed; some fading action to the arm side; excellent velocity differential relative to fastball; development of third pitch will be crucial toward his overall growth.
Given his massive frame and power arm, Gray’s ability to stay around the plate with his three-pitch mix is very impressive; could benefit from leaving the strike zone more as a professional, especially with his secondary offerings.
The fastball has always been there, but Gray’s command of his fastball, slider and changeup is what’s made him a potential top pick; confident pitcher who always has a plan in place; feel for sequencing and attacking hitters’ weaknesses; ability to locate secondary offerings throughout strike zone gives him frontline starter potential.
MLB Player Comparison: Roger Clemens
Projection: No. 1 starter ceiling; multiple All-Star game selections; strikeout king; Cy Young candidate.
MLB ETA: 2015
Chances of Signing: 99.9%