The New York Yankees have not gotten the production they expected from Sonny Gray this year, but that has started to change.
The Yankees acquired Gray at the July 31 trade deadline last year for three top prospects. He would post a 4-7 record with a 3.72 ERA in 11 starts for the Bombers since coming over. The success that he showed gave Yankee fans hope that in 2018 a full year of Gray would make this rotation deeper than it was last year.
But, the month of April was not fun for Gray who posted a 1-2 record with a 6.67 ERA in six starts. During that span, Gray gave up 20 earned runs in 27 innings and fans were calling for him to be taken out of the rotation.
But manager Aaron Boone never appeared to be worried about the 28-year-old right-hander. He, like the rest of baseball knew that this isn’t the type of pitcher Gray is and can be. In his first five seasons, he’s only had one season where the opponent hit higher than .235. That year came in 2016 which was his worst of his career. He posted a 5.69 ERA in that campaign but proved that it was just an abnormality.
Gray seems to have found a rhythm working with Romine in the month of May. This month he has an ERA of 3.79 and has lowered his season’s ERA to 5.48. Sunday against the Kansas City Royals, he went eight innings of one-run baseball, by far the best start of his Yankee career.
Looking at his last four starts, Gray is clearly showing that April was just a fluke.
|4/30 @ HOU||Loss||6.0||2||4|
|5/05 vs CLE||Win||6.0||2||4|
|5/11 vs OAK||Loss||5.0||5||9|
|5/20 @ KC||Win||8.0||1||4|
Any team will sign up for production like this from a number two starter. Outside of the loss against Oakland, Gray has been more than just serviceable. He’s shown that he has the ability to be the starter the Yankees thought he would be when they acquired him.
With Luis Severino leading the way in the rotation, the Yankees do not need to look for a game changer in the rotation. Simply because he serves that role. Numbers like Gray has put up during this most recent run he’s been on will do more than just the job. It gives the Yankees just what they need. It also can prevent the Yankees from going out and trading for a top-tier pitcher.
Over the last few months, the Yanks have been linked to multiple top pitchers in the game, most recently Cole Hamels. Part of this has been because of the poor production from Gray in the month of April.
But, if Gray can continue the success he’s had this month into June and early July, he might force the Yankees to change their plans at the trade deadline. Instead of being in on some of the top pitchers on the market, they could be looking for depth. They could make a deal for a player similar to what they got in Jaime Garcia.
Sonny Gray has changed the narrative of his season. The more success he has, April will become just a chapter in a much bigger story.