Top Five Arms Under 25 the Yankees Should Target This Offseason
After a rocky start to his big league career, 24-year-old Jon Gray put together a full season as a slightly-above-average MLB starter in 2016, pitching to a 106 ERA+ and 3.61 FIP in 168 innings of work.
The Colorado Rockies have quietly developed a number of promising pitching prospects over the last year. Tyler Anderson, Tyler Chatwood, and Chad Bettis would also make nice targets for the Yankees if the Rox decide to deal from their depth this winter. The real prize here, however, is Gray.
Selected third overall in the 2013 June amateur draft out of the University of Oklahoma, Gray is the type of big (6’4 235 lb.) hard throwing workhorse that the Yankees love. His fastball sits in the mid-90’s but can touch 98. His best secondary offering is a mid-80’s slider, and he will also mix in a curve and a change. The slider is a true swing-and-miss strikeout pitch at its best.
Gray’s control is a work in progress. He walked 8.3% of opposing batters this year, which is right in line with his rate of free passes during his climb through the minors. On the other hand, he was one of the most prolific K artists in baseball last year because of his pure stuff. His 185 strikeouts ranked ninth in the National League, while his 9.911 K/9 was good for sixth.
The Rockies have had such difficulty developing and signing pitchers that they would certainly think twice before dealing a potential ace like Gray. However, the Yankees have arguably the best farm system in baseball and possess the pieces to land anyone if they want them bad enough.
The price would be high, Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres would probably have to be the starting point, but Gray has the potential to be a true number one if he’s liberated from Coors Field, and he’s controlled cheaply through 2021.