Despite these risks, I want every part of Sonny Gray in 2020. Give me a 30-year-old pitcher still acclimating himself to the National League who is still learning how to pitch and harness his full potential, and showed great signs of improvement last season. This career progression really has a lot of similarities to Patrick Corbin, who followed up his breakthrough 2018 campaign with an ace-level 2019.
Even if 2020 Sonny Gray regresses to be a 3.60 ERA pitcher who maintains his strikeout rate on what should be a much-improved Reds team, he should see his win total go up from 11 and should maintain his above-average K-rate.
Given his track record with Oakland, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him get back up to the 200-inning mark if he stays healthy all year. Somewhere in the 180-190 range might be a bit more realistic, given his offseason elbow procedure and assumption that the Reds will want to be a tad cautious.
In an age where the 200-inning starting pitcher is becoming more of a lost art, 180-190 innings is still a great number from what is being drafted as a #3 or #4 starting pitcher on most rosters. He may not be an ace, but even if he isn’t, it would be far from a shock to see him put up top-20 starting pitcher numbers this season. I like Sonny Gray as a candidate to have another fantastic season.
Drafting Sonny Gray at his current ADP is a high-upside, high-reward move. I wouldn’t be afraid to reach two to three rounds on him. However, if you get him where the market is currently drafting him, I would be thrilled with the value he could provide.
Special thanks to Baseball Savant and FanGraphs for supplemental statistics in producing this read.