By Jason Wojciechowski on July 11, 2013 at 12:24 AM
Related to the last post, I'm watching the A's–Pirates game from tonight on my wife's iPad, as I tend to do many hours after the rest of you have finished watching. Often many hours after the rest of you have gone to bed. I'm a night person.
Anyway, I got to see Sonny Gray pitch the fifth and sixth innings of this particular game and I have to say: I'm pretty excited. The fastball was hot and the curve was pretty. Gray had an easy assignment in his first inning, facing the 8-9-1 hitters (and this was in Pittsburgh, so #9 was Francisco Liriano, who is not only a pitcher but a pitcher entirely disinclined to make any sort of effort at the plate), but he went right at Andrew McCutchen, one of the best players in the league, in the sixth, getting ahead 0–2 before going well upstairs with a fastball, then finishing the at-bat with a beautifully placed heater on the inside corner at the knees for strike three looking.
Gray looked a little bit amped, as rookie pitchers tend to look, especially when they're appearing out of the bullpen and are not only amped but know it's not a big deal that they're amped because they're going to be done in an inning or two, so the aforementioned fastball way upstairs against McCutchen may or may not have been entirely intentional, but you can't argue with strike three at all.
I can't speak to Gray's mechanics, much as I'd like to be able to, and much as I read Doug Thorburn's work at Baseball Prospectus religiously, so the only negative I can really mention is that Gray's fastball looks quite straight. If he's locating the pitch and moving it around, then, with the mid-90s velocity, he can be successful with it, but you'd always prefer to see location + velocity + movement rather than just two of the three.
But hey, Gray had multiple strikeouts and allowed just one baserunner in his major-league debut. It was very nice, I'm hopeful that we'll see more good stuff, and