Another day we can all fight about whether or not Jon Gray has been, or will be, worth all the hype, but today our question is: What do the Rockies or Gray gain by giving him a few more starts this season?
Other than Carlos Gonzalez' Jack-the-Ripper-esque murderous rampage against all baseballs, the biggest reason to watch Colorado Rockies games in the second half of 2015 has been Jon Gray.
But now that he has passed the 130 innings mark -- in addition to showing signs of fatigue on the mound -- it would be wise to shut him down very soon. In fact, I'm not sure he should make another start.
To my eyes, he was falling off his delivery last night to either side of the rubber giving him wildly inconsistent side-to-side command. He didn't have the strength and explosion in his body moving toward the plate that he normally does which made it harder to keep in a straight line.
After watching the film closely for his last two starts I think the command issues and slight reduction in velocity are coming from fatigue. Oddly enough, I though he compensated well by throwing some of his best sliders since being called up last night.
There is the ambiguous yet legitimate argument toward further development. Every at-bat is a potential learning situation but the difference between what he could gain in another six-12 innings and what he has seen already is likely negligible.
The goal in bringing him up the the MLB level was to get his feet wet. Feet status: Wet.
You also risk overloading a young pitcher with too much information, but everything else is secondary to preserving his arm. In an age where Stephen Strasburg was shut down for a playoff run despite pitching extraordinarily well at the time, the Rockies need to play the long game and so far under the new direction have shown a willingness and ability to do just that.
There is no reason to see if Gray can "push through" something like this now. Nor is there reason to see if he can push himself already into starting next season as the team's "ace" as some other writers have suggested.
What Gray gives the Rockies in terms of production means nothing this season. Sadly, it likely means nothing next season. But Gray's long term health is one of the top three factors toward realizing the future in the aftermath of the Tulowitzki trade. We don't need Gray to be good now, we need to do everything possible to make sure he is good two years from now.
It's going to make the rest of the season far less interesting to watch but -- and not because of anything he did wrong -- Jon Gray should be done pitching competitive innings in 2015.