The Colorado Rockies have started 2014 off in the right path. Their winning close games on the road, and blowing opponents out at home. Pitchers are getting outs and the heavy hitters are coming through when the hits are needed most. However, things can get better, much better.
The Rockies have an arsenal of young talent down in the farm system, in which many are clamoring to be brought up. Jonathan Gray, the No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft, has opened many eyes. For the Double-A Tulsa Drillers, Gray has started 9 games, compiling a 5-2 record. What’s more impressive is the numbers. In 48.1 innings Gray has 2.79 ERA, striking out 42 and only allowing 8 walks. Considered to be the savior of the organization, Gray has many tools to become so. At 6’4’’ 235 lbs. Gray is a big, tall, strong right hander who was regularly clocked close to 100 MPH while at the University of Oklahoma.
Although his fastball pops the catchers’ mitt, Gray has a whole variety of pitches to select from. His fastball sets up his great slider and produces many swings and misses over the course of a game. If all else fails Gray can turn to his deceiving changeup which just seems to drop off the face of the earth when it reaches the batter. Gray isn’t expected to make his big league debut until 2015, if Gray keeps up his dominating presence on the bump it won’t be long before he’s throwing in Coors Field.
After Gray, I get really excited when looking at Eddie Butler. Butler, the #46 overall pick in the 2012 Supplemental draft has really come on strong. Many thought he’d be a great bullpen thrower but has silenced that talk with his dominance as a starter. Like Gray, Butler is a hard throwing right hander who keeps hitters guessing with every pitch. His command looks great allowing only 17 walks in his 64 innings pitched in Double-A Tulsa this year.
With a 4-4 record in his 10 starts in 2014, Butler has a 2.39 ERA to go along with 36 strikeouts. His fastball, like Gray’s, blows away hitters time and time again being clocked in the mid to upper 90’s. His curveball is developing nicely along with his change-up, and a nasty slider that baffles most hitters. Expected to be a September call up in 2014 it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him in Denver before August.
With these two making huge strides in a very quick manner, The Rockies could finally have their number 1 and 2 starters in the near future that they’ve been looking for in the past 20 years. Combine that with the current rotation and the Coors Field faithful finally may have something to hang their hat on.
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