The Colorado Rockies have reached an agreement on a contract with their first-round pick, Jonathan Gray. Gray was the third pick overall in the 2013 MLB Draft, after Mark Appel and Kris Bryant went to the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs respectively.
Jim Callis of Baseball America sent out this tweet earlier tonight confirming the signing:
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisBA) June 13, 2013
As Callis mentioned, Gray has the type of stuff that makes baseball scouts drool. Few big league starters can match Gray’s velocity, and his slider is considered one of the best breaking balls in this year’s draft class. Gray has the type of pitch arsenal that has led some to compare him to a young Josh Johnson before injuries sapped him of his elite velocity.
Gray’s $4.8 million dollar deal is by far the largest in team history, easily eclipsing the $3.9 million deal given in 2009 to high schooler Tyler Matzek. However, that price is a bargain for a pitching prospect of Gray’s caliber. For comparison, the top pitching prospect of the 2011 draft, Gerrit Cole, signed for $8 million. While Gray vs. Cole is an intriguing debate, it’s likely that most teams would rather have Gray if he comes at almost half the cost. While no one but the Rockies, Gray and Gray’s agent know exactly what happened during negotiations, there’s reason to believe that Gray may have cost himself some money by testing positive for Adderall shortly before the draft.
For now, Gray will head to Grand Junction to pitch for the Rockies rookie-level affiliate. However, it’s likely that Gray will be on the fast track towards Denver. In a press conference earlier today to announce the signing, the Rockies were not specific about the timeline for Gray, but refused to rule out the possibility of a promotion later in the summer if things go well.
Colorado fans should be very excited to watch Gray rise through their minor league system in the near future.