In 2013, the Twins were taking their rightful spot at the top of the MLB Draft order when they held the fourth overall pick. After the Houston Astros took Mark Appel with the first pick, the Chicago Cubs selected Kris Bryant and the Colorado Rockies took Jon Gray. Now, in a draft that also included Austin Meadows, Tim Anderson and some guy named Aaron Judge, the Twins settled for Kohl Stewart with their pick, but that’s not the point.
The Twins were considered a potential destination for Gray at one point and after a couple of rocky years in Colorado (no pun intended), the Twins have a chance to reunite with the 27-year old with hopes they can improve his game.
So far, Gray’s stats in the majors haven’t been anything to write home about. He owns a career ERA of 4.46 and last year, he was in the fourth percentile in hard-hit pitches at 43.6% per Baseball Savant. Much like Price, why would the Twins want a guy that has struggled to keep his ERA under four for the majority of his career? Because the Twins might be able to make him better.
Throughout his five-year career, Gray has had plenty of negatives including a four-seam fastball (.409 WOBA) and changeup (.601 WOBA) that got slaughtered in 2019. But there have also been positives including a 3.77 career FIP and a slider that generated a 41.2% whiff rate last season.
A comparison to this year’s free-agent class would have been Zack Wheeler, but Seth Stohs of Twins Daily pointed out that Gray compares very well to Gerritt Cole before he was traded from Pittsburgh to Houston in 2017. Long story short, if Wes Johnson can get through and refine some of the things such as the lack of movement on all of his pitches, there could be enough improvement to make Gray a diamond in the rough.