Sonny Gray was drafted by the Oakland Athletics with the 18th overall pick in the 2011 MLB First Year Player Draft. After spending less than three years in the minors, Gray made his Oakland debut on July 10, 2013 in a relief appearance. His first start did not come until a month later, and his first career win came in start No. 2 when he went eight shutout innings. From there, Gray was off and running for the green and gold in Oakland.
During his two months in the rotation to close out the regular season, Gray went 5-3 with a 2.67 ERA and just over a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Gray was the pitcher on the bump the night Oakland clinched their second straight division championship, and he really turned some heads during the playoffs. In the ALDS, he went up against the Detroit Tigers and Justin Verlander twice in one week. In the first matchup, Gray matched Verlander shutout inning for shutout inning going eight scoreless innings and striking out nine. While Verlander wound up getting the last laugh in the return bout, Gray certainly announced his arrival onto the scene during the postseason.
Gray’s arsenal features a fastball that can reach the mid-to-upper 90’s and a potent curve ball that can just fall off of the table. He is projected to be the No. 3 man in the A’s starting rotation this season, and making close to 30 starts is not out of the realm of possibility for the right-hander. If Gray can stay in the rotation all season long and manage to pull down 14-16 wins, he just may receive some CY Young votes as well this year.
Oakland has prided itself on discovering young pitching and developing them into stars. Gray is just another in the long line of arms to come through the bay that also includes guys like Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson. Gray is just another example of why Billy Beane and the A’s continue to pump out players, even without having as much green as other teams around the league.
Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.