Aug 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) pitches against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning at O.Co Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Houston Astros 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Athletics: Is Sonny Gray a Future Ace?

Sonny Gray, the Oakland A’s 23-year-old first round draft pick in 2011, has shown Athletics fans that he can become a reliable pitcher in Oakland’s rotation.

The promising youngster should strive in a system that contains a very young starting rotation, besides the 40-year-old veteran Bartolo Colon who has pitched extremely well throughout this year. Gray can quickly mold in to the A’s rotation incredibly well and becoming another trustworthy arm on the mound. Alongside Oakland’s respected pitching coach Curt Young, and head coach Bob Melvin, Gray will have the coaching that will improve his pitching swiftly.

To start the 2013 season, Gray returned to the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, where he posted a 2.81 ERA and was selected to start the Triple-A All-Star Game for the Pacific Coast League. Numbers never lie, as the young talent became dominant in the minors. Since early July, Gray has been called up and sent back down quite frequently.

On July 10, 2013, Gray was called up to replace Dan Straily, who had been optioned to Triple-A. He made his first major league appearance out of the bullpen, in relief of Jerry Blevins, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He pitched two innings, tallying three strikeouts and allowing a single hit. Gray did not allow a run, nor a walk. He made a second relief appearance ten days later in Anaheim but was then sent back down to the minors.

He was recalled by the A’s on August 10, and made his first Major League start against Mark Buehrle and the Toronto Blue Jays. This spot start was in Tommy Milone’s place in the rotation after Milone struggled and was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. Gray gave up four runs in six innings served, and totaled five K’s.

However, several days later Gray dominated the Houston Astros with his nasty fastball and snapping curve on the way to an impressive first major league victory. Gray struck out nine in his home debut, went eight innings, and did not give up a single run.

Gray has constantly been compared to a plethora of names that include Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Lincecum. He is surely a great young talent with much promise.

Do I believe that he can become the team’s ace? With a tremendously talented young pitching staff including two of Oakland’s finest in Jarrod Parker and Brett Anderson, I don’t know if he can become the A’s ace yet. Possibly in the near future, although I do certainly believe that he can make solid contributions on the mound for Bob Melvin and company.

Tags: Bob Melvin Curt Young Oakland Athletics Sacramento River Cats Sonny Gray Triple-A

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