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June 3, 2013

Scouting the Draft

Pitchers to Know (Part 1)

by Nick J. Faleris


Our final entry in the Scouting the Draft positional preview covers some of the top arms to know for this week’s draft. We’ll conclude the 2013 Scouting the Draft series this week with a look at 15 more arms, as well as some odds and ends that I hope you’ll find interesting. On to the reports!

Cream of the Crop

Jonathan Gray | RHP | Oklahoma Univ.
Height/Weight:
6-foot-4/239 pounds
B/T: R/R
Draft Day Age: 21 years, 7 months
Scouting Video

Jonathan Gray was one of the most pleasant surprises of the spring. He was a high follow exiting the summer, so it isn’t a shock to see have him as a potential first-rounder this spring. But his velocity jump over the past nine months, and the jump in his slider from a potential plus to a potential plus-plus offering, has catapulted him to the top of many draft boards and offered scouting directors another legit 1-1 candidate in a draft class somewhat thin at the top.

Statistically, Gray has been a dominant force for Oklahoma this spring, entering regional play with a 1.55 ERA (2.86 FIP per collegesplits.com) while striking out 10.39 batters per nine to just 1.72 walks per nine. His workload has been managed well, keeping reasonable per-game pitch counts and providing for lighter loads following starts in which he ran into more trying innings.

The pure stuff is electric, headlined by a plus-plus fastball that some currently grade as an “80” on the 20-80 scouting scale. He sits 94 to 97 mph, with an ability to dial up to triple digits and delivers the pitch on a tough plane, making it difficult to square. His slider is a second potential plus-plus offering, coming with release and trajectory deception with his fastball, making it difficult for hitters to pick up. He can work it to both sides of the plate to both lefties and righties, and he excels at “back-footing” it to lefties.

The changeup is still a rudimentary offering, but Gray currently finds some success with it off of arm speed deception. It could be an average pitch, maybe a tick better, with more work. His size assuages some concerns about “pop-up velocity” not holding under a pro workload, but even if there is some regression, his stuff should play well against pro bats. Gray is a candidate to go first overall to Houston, and should be gobbled-up in the first five picks regardless.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (06/03)
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