Salt Lake City, UT -- Regardless of how Rockies fans feel about Jon Gray’s development, he thinks he is ready to take the next step to the major leagues.
"Yeah, I think I could pitch there. I really do," said Gray. "With the confidence carried over from this last month, it has been really great. I don’t have any doubt I could get hitters out, no matter what level."
The Rockies number one prospect Jon Gray is ready to make an impact in the major league level. Gray didn't pitch well last night, going just 4 1/3 innings while allowing 11 hits and six earned runs. He did hit 100 mph a few times with his fastball, but his command just wasn't there. Nevertheless, he’s shown the ability to overcome adversity and has pitched well in Triple-A over the last two months. Before last night, Gray had an ERA of 2.74 to go along with 45 strike outs and 16 walks over his previous ten starts.
What does Gray think the Rockies want to see from him before they decide to call him up?
"I think they just want to see me go out and do it a few more times. They want to see consistency," Gray stated.
Gray certainly has turned things around since the beginning of the year. In his first four starts in Triple-A this season, he accumulated an ERA of 10.70, giving up 32 hits in just 17 2/3 innings pitched.
Gray made a few adjustments after his early struggles, crediting it mostly to his ability to put things behind him mentally.
"A lot of things have changed. Not so much delivery, or anything mechanically," Gray noted, "It's just been a different mindset."
Not only has his mindset changed, but his approach to batters has improved. He’s worked on his slider and has been able to mix it in with his fastball to keep batters off balance.
"I think my slider has gotten better. I've been working on that a lot. It would just sometimes spin, and I had to learn to throw it at elevation," Gray suggested, "I think I have it under control now, and I'm just hoping it improves. The first couple of weeks they were taking really good swings on my fastballs. Once I started mixing more, it seemed like I wasn't giving up as many hard hits."
With Gray pitching in Albuquerque, he’s still going to see some high-altitude parks such as Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, where they recently brought in a humidor to suppress the amount of offense.
"You're not going to get as much movement on your pitches. Sometimes routine fly balls, they just get out," Gray chuckled. "You really have to have a ground ball game. For me, it's just changing eye levels."
It’s not clear when Gray will get the call up to the Rockies. It’s assumed that Gray would take the spot of either Chris Rusin or David Hale, but both pitchers haven’t struggled enough to necessarily force the Rockies' hand. But speaking of hands, or at least hand appendages, Jorge De La Rosa's troubling finger could lead to a call-up.
In what’s mostly considered a non-contending year, it’d make sense for the Rockies to call up Gray at some point this year in hopes to just give him some low-stress major league games to pitch in and hopefully give the Rockies a better idea of what the 2016 rotation will look like.