Kyle Laferriere-USA TODAY Sports
Like Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray is close to MLB-ready—maybe not quite as close as Appel. And also like Appel, Gray has the potential to be a top-flight, long-term, front-end starter.
At 6’4", 240 pounds, Jonathan Gray is a big kid with a big arm.
According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com and Mark Anderson of Baseball Prospect Nation, Gray sports a plus-plus fastball that runs in the upper-90s and has been clocked in the triple digits late in his starts, to go along with a nasty power slider in the mid- to upper-80s, a good changeup and a developing curve.
Nick J. Faleris of Baseball Prospectus holds Jonathan Gray in high regards, as well. Because of his plus-plus fastball and plus slider—potentially plus-plus, too—he sees a bright future for the hard-throwing righty:
Gray would be a potential number one overall selection in any draft class, but particularly so this year. His pure stuff is elite, he maintains his velocity and quality slider late in starts, his build is strong and durable, and his performance this spring has been lights out…Gray is almost certain to come off the board in the first three picks and profiles as a front-end starter with true ace upside.
By all accounts Gray has good overall mechanics, but in his breakdown of Gray, Faleris points out that while “Gray is generally clean through his motion…the biggest hiccup [comes] on his plant and running through release.”
The “run through release”—as I’ve come to understand it—basically means after the ball leaves his right hand his momentum carries him toward the first base line. That “run off the mound” led Mark Anderson to close his summation of Gray’s delivery and mechanics with two words: “won’t field.”
But Faleris does not necessarily see the hitch in Gray’s mechanics as much of a problem. In fact, Faleris says, “[w]ith some slight improvements in flexibility and smoothing out in his landing and release, a drafting org could see another bump in Gray’s stuff, as well as in his command and already solid control.”