Though it’s still quite early in the 2013 MLB season, the Oakland Athletics are fighting just to stay within striking distance in the American League West. Though they have a solid 25-23 record, they are 5.5 games back of the Texas Rangers, who are shaping up to be one of the best teams in the entire league. The A’s are trying to stay close and maybe make something happen.
The top of their starting rotation has been solid for them over the start of the season and has helped them find the success that they have had. Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin and Bartolo Colon all have WHIPs below 1.25 and Milone and Griffin have sub-3.60 ERAs to go along with that. However, it’s the bottom of their rotation that has been a bit shaky.
Dan Straily and Brett Anderson have made spot starts because of inconsistency and injuries to one or the other this season and have been up-and-down. Jarrod Parker is the more interesting case, though, as he’s pitched 10 starts this season and has been inconsistent. Overall, he has just a 2-6 record with a 5.76 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. He hasn’t exactly looked like the pitcher that they were hoping for him to be this season. He’s also currently dealing with a minor neck issue.
If Parker’s inconsistency continues and he’s not helping the A’s grab wins or if he has to make a trip to the DL with his injury, the A’s are likely to and should bring up Sonny Gray, their top pitching prospect and the 18th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft.
Gray is currently in Triple-A where he has made eight starts this season. At that level he has a 4-2 record with a 2.49 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Moreover, he also has a nice 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings rate and 2.65 FIP. The only real concern about him would be his 3.38 walks per nine innings rate, but it’s still not a make-or-break concern.
There’s reason to be excited about what Gray can do if he’s called up to the majors. He’s just 23 years old and, by most accounts, already has the look of a big league pitcher. Gray being called up would also inject some life into the A’s and their rotation and may give them a little bit of a bump that would close the gap between them and Texas. Gray needs to get the call up sooner rather than later. The worst case scenario would be that he struggles, but he could just got back down to the minors and work some more because he’s so young. That’s not a bad scenario at all, especially considering the chance that he’s already ready and really helps the A’s out.