Perhaps the biggest revelation for the Oakland Athletics in 2013 was the emergence of Sonny Gray.
The 23-year-old prospect became the Athletics’ whiz kid last season, going 5-3 with a 2.67 ERA in the 12 games he pitched.
His future looks bright; he is young and has loads of talent. Barring an injury, which can strike at the worst of times, Gray should be around the top of the A’s rotation for years to come.
But what should we expect from Gray in the immediate future, in the 2014 season?
It is entirely possible that Sonny Gray continues the magnificence he displayed last season. However, A’s fans should not put too much expectation of someone who has not even pitched a full season in the majors.
The A’s have a rotation good enough to take pressure off of Gray’s shoulders. Jarrod Parker, Brett Anderson, A.J. Griffin, Tommy Milone and Dan Straily will be back next year, and Bartolo Colon could be back as well.
The pitching depth will allow Sonny Gray to develop at his own pace. If he should falter at some point during the season, one of the other decent starting pitchers can take his place, allowing him to regroup in Triple-A.
These measures will, hopefully for A’s fans, not be needed. Considering that this stumble is the worst case scenario, except injury of course, things are looking up for the Oakland Athletics.
I look for Sonny Gray to be the number three man in the rotation next season. He will not, and should not, be counted on to pitch eight shutout innings every start, although a myriad of quality starts is not out of the question.
Let him enjoy baseball without overwhelming pressures of success, and results will follow.