Saturday Pebble Report: Is Jon Gray becoming a concern?

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Just two months ago, there was excitement surrounding almost all of Tulsa's rotation. Now, much of that buzz is gone.

The Tulsa Drillers fell to the San Antonio Missions last night 7-4, but within this game, there's a much bigger and much more concerning story developing for the Rockies. Jon Gray hasn't been very good.

In Friday's game, Jon Gray allowed five runs (four earned) in just 3.1 innings of work to extend a dubious streak of failing to pitch six innings in a game to seven straight outings. Some of this is connected to the club's cautious pitch count when it comes to Gray, but much of it is also tied to Gray just not being very efficient.

Here's some other blood pressure raising numbers to consider when it comes to Jon Gray's season:

Average Texas League ERA: 3.59
Jon Gray's ERA: 4.04

Average Texas League strike out rate: 20%
Jon Gray's strike out rate: 23%

Texas League hitters hit a home run on average once every 59 plate appearances
When facing Jon Gray, they hit a home run once every 38 plate appearances

After last night's game, Texas League hitters have recorded more hits than strikeouts against Gray. Compare that to five starts last season in Modesto when Gray struck out nearly four times as many batters as he allowed hits, and it should start raising some red flags.

Statistically speaking, Gray has been average at best compared to the rest of the Texas League this season, and we're no longer dealing with a tiny sample size here. While this doesn't automatically mean doom for Gray's future, it is pretty disappointing. This is not not just another prospect. This is a guy the Rockies need to be a stud, and everything about his Double-A performance so far screams pedestrian. The scouting report says he should be overwhelming hitters, but for whatever reason, it hasn't translated yet. If it doesn't start to translate in the next couple of months, Gray's prospect status is going to take a hit. This doesn't mean his ceiling is any lower than it was at the start of the season, but if he's getting tripped up by the Texas League, his chances of reaching it are not as good as we may have thought.

Offensively, the often overlooked Christian Adames had a good day going 3-4 at the plate. Trevor Story picked up another knock to extend his hitting streak to six games, but he also made his first error since being called up to Tulsa.

Triple-A: Colorado Springs 6, Omaha 1

Brian Burres was excellent for 5.1 innings; striking out nine and only walking two.

Offensively, Ben Paulsen, Angelys Nina, and Dustin Garneau all had two hits and Paulsen, Garneau and Tim Smalling all hit home runs. For the season, Paulsen now has a .950 OPS. Too bad he's about to turn 27.

High-A: Bakersfield 7, Modesto 5

This was a pretty forgettable game. Ryan Carpenter went six innings, but gave up four runs (including blowing a 4-0 fifth inning lead). Seven Nuts recorded a hit, but only one recorded a multi hit game. Chris O'Dowd had the most noteworthy night going 2-4 and hitting his fifth home run of the season in the eighth inning which momentarily gave the Nuts a late 5-4 lead. However, the bullpen caved and allowed three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Low-A: Asheville 7, Lexington 6

The fun affiliate won on a walk off single in the bottom of the ninth off the bat of Ryan McMahon. As usual, several members of Asheville's offense had a big night. David Dahl had a pair of doubles to pick up his sixth multi hit game in his last eight starts (he may finally be entering that scalding hot streak we've been waiting for), Michael Benjamin had three hits and a walk, Raimel Tapia was on base twice, and the aforementioned McMahon had three hits on the day and knocked in five the the Tourists' seven runs.

On the mound, Zach Jemiola pitched 5.2 innings without allowing an earned run (he did allow two unearned runs) while striking out seven and not walking anyone. In case your only skimming this: WATCH ZACH JEMIOLA'S NEXT FEW STARTS VERY CLOSELY!!! In his last four outings, the 20-year-old Jemiola had a 0.34 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched. Maybe it's a blip on the radar, or maybe, he found something. When this stuff happens four straight outings for a 20-year-old arm, it's a good idea to keep an eye on it.

Northwest League: Everett 2, Tri-City 1 (11 innings)

Grahamm Wiest pitched six scoreless innings while the offense made little use of five free passes and nine hits. Renaldo Jenkins and Francisco Sosa each had a pair of hits. No Dust Devil hit went for extra bases all game.

DSL: Rockies 3, Orioles 1

Despite going 1-12 with runners in scoring position, the Rockies managed to scratch out three middle inning runs thanks to a sac fly and a home run from Manuel Melendez. On the mound, Alejandro  Requena, Esmerlin Perez, Breiling Eusebio, and Alexander Guillen combined to hold the birds to a single run.

Rookie: Grand Junction 16, Orem 13

What a mess! The Grand Junction Rockies scored 12 runs in the first inning and nearly lost the game in the ninth, the Orem Owlz made SIX errors, and the Orem offense somehow put 13 runs on the board despite only two hits with runners in scoring position. (It might have had something to do with the five home runs allowed by Grand Junction pitching)

Amid the chaos, there were a few strong performances. Forrest Wall went 3-6, Yonathan Daza went 3-5, Matt McBride was on base four times with two doubles and two walks in a rehab assignment, and Hamlet Marte had a single, a double, a triple and a walk.

Saturday's Probables: (Don't get too excited. This is about as underwhelming as it gets)

Sky Sox: Pedro Hernandez (5-4, 6.34)

Drillers: Ryan Kulik (0-1, 9.75)

Nuts: Devin Burke (5-5, 6.24)

Tourists:Antonio Senzatela (8-1, 4.43)

Dust Devils: Blake Shouse (1-2, 9.00)

Grand Junction Rockies: Sam Howard (0-0, 3.00)

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