The Colorado Rockies will play the final weeks of 2020 without pitcher Jon Gray. The veteran was moved to the Injured List earlier this month with a shoulder issue that will sideline him for the remainder of the year. Gray wasn’t having a great year but the team could still have used his experience as it tries to claw back into the playoffs. Sportsnet was among those who announced the shut down earlier Wednesday afternoon.
The Rockies have shut down starter Jon Gray for the season due to a sore right shoulder.https://t.co/fh856bMlIa
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 16, 2020
Rockies Jon Gray Out for the Season
Gray struggled mightily in 2020. The 28-year-old posted a career-worst ERA of 6.69 and 5.07 FIP. He struck out just 22 batters while walking 11 in 39 innings. Gray’s strikeout rate fell to 12.6 percent and 5.1 per nine innings but that makes sense if he was battling shoulder trouble all year. The encouraging sign is his walk numbers reached new career-bests. Hopefully, that control remains with an increase in velocity next season as Gray’s average fastball fell from 96.1 mph in 2019 to 94.0.
The former first-round pick from the 2013 Amateur Draft has been a steady presence in Colorado. Gray debuted in 2015 and has been a primary option in the rotation ever since. His best year was 2017. That was the season where Gray threw 110 and one-third innings with 112 strikeouts and a 3.67 ERA. His primary combination of fastball and slider has ultimately translated to a 4.59 ERA, 692 strikeouts, 222 walks, and 10.7 WAR per Baseball-Reference. He is ninth in WAR among all-time Rockies pitchers just behind Pedro Astacio.
What This Means for the Future
Rockies starters have struggled as a unit in 2020 but it is still 12th in WAR per FanGraphs’ leaderboard. Colorado still has German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, and Antonio Senzatela as quality starters but someone will need to step up. The team needs more from Chi Chi Gonzalez and Ryan Castellani if they want to make a final run despite Gray’s struggles.
Embed from Getty Images