Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Cardinals Ace Doubtful For Opening Day

In late February, the St. Louis Cardinals named Sonny Gray the Opening Day starter. Just one week later, the Cardinals announced that Gray would likely start the season on the injured list. Gray will miss time due to a “mild” right hamstring strain. Strains in this same hamstring led to two separate injured list stints for Gray during the 2022 season.

Sonny Gray Likely Out For Opening Day

While an injured ace will always cause some concern, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak downplayed the strain to reporters. Mozeliak said that although the odds are slim for Gray to be ready by Opening Day, it seems the pitcher avoided a more serious strain.

St. Louis added multiple starting pitchers this winter after a disastrous 2023 season. Among the new additions, Gray represented the best starter. In 32 starts with the Minnesota Twins last year, Gray tossed 184 innings with a 2.79 ERA. While he struck batters out at just an above-the-league average rate, Gray excelled by relying on limiting walks, missing barrels, and getting ground balls.

Gray signed a three-year, $75 million deal with the Cardinals this offseason after finishing second in the American League Cy Young race. While this hamstring strain will cause him to miss time, he should still see plenty of action leading the team’s revamped rotation.

Former first-round pick Zack Thompson projects to get the first crack at filling in for Gray. The lefty bounced between the rotation, bullpen, and Triple-A last season but produced interesting results. His 25.1 strikeout rate was better than the league average, while his 8.7 walk rate was below. Additionally, Thompson generates ground balls at a solid rate (he ranked in the 68th percentile for ground ball percentage).

Other in-house options to cover Gray’s innings include Matthew Liberatore and Drew Rom. While these inexperienced arms have some potential, many will wonder if the Cardinals will look to add an arm via free agency. However, Mozeliak told reporters that Gray’s injury is not worrisome enough for the team to look for significant outside additions.

Main Photo Credits: Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message