The Colorado Rockies have made their choice. With the third pick of the 2013 MLB draft, Colorado has selected Jonathan Gray, a RHP from Oklahoma University. Gray was the favorite to go no. 1 overall, but after the Houston Astros surprised everyone by taking Mark Appel and the Chicago Cubs grabbed Kris Bryant, the top bat in the draft, things were set up perfectly for the Rockies to grab the guy that Baseball America had ranked as the no. 1 prospect in the draft.
Gray is the second-highest draft pick in franchise history and will almost certainly receive the largest signing bonus the Rockies have ever bestowed upon a draft pick.
Gray instantly becomes the Rockies top pitching prospect and perhaps their top overall prospect as well. Gray has legit triple-digit velocity, meaning he throws harder than anyone currently in the organization. Gray will likely start his career in either low-A with Grand Junction or high-A with Modesto. However, Gray should rise quickly through the system as long as he stays healthy. If everything goes according to plan, then Gray could make it to the big leagues as soon as late 2014, and I would expect him to be a member of the starting rotation in Colorado by 2015.
Rockies fans might still have negative memories of using the no. 2 pick in 2006 on Greg Reynolds. Make no mistake about it though, Gray is a far superior prospect to what Reynolds was. While the Rockies drafted Reynolds to be a mid-to-back end of the rotation type, Gray is a bonafide ace. His fastball/slider combo is already big-league quality, and his change-up has improved rapidly over the last year.
The Rockies are well aware of their reputation throughout baseball for struggling to draft and develop pitchers, and it’s something they want to fix. This pick is a huge step towards doing just that. Gray is the most exciting pitching prospect this team has had in ages, perhaps ever. The key for the Rockies will be to avoid rushing him. The last thing they want to do is rush Gray to the big leagues before he’s ready and pin the hopes of an entire franchise on his right arm.
As long as Gray stays healthy, I believe he will develop into the long-term ace that Colorado has been desperate for, and he will do it in the not-too-distant future.