Quick Hit: Now In Cincinnati, Is Sonny Gray Worth Targeting?

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It isn’t a surprise that Sonny Gray was traded away from New York, after he struggled in 2019 with a 4.90 ERA over 130.1 IP.  The issues were solely pitching in Yankee Stadium, with a distinct split:

  • Home – 6.98 ERA over 59.1 IP
  • Road – 3.17 ERA over 71.0 IP

While there were home run issues (1.67 HR/9), it was an across the board disaster:

SplitK/9BB/9Hard%BABIPStrand Rate
Home6.835.3140.4%.34968.6%
Road9.892.7930.4%.30373.7%

Was his stuff simply worse at home that he couldn’t find the strike zone and couldn’t miss bats?  Overall he had a 10.1% SwStr%, and while he may not be able to maintain a strikeout per inning seeing his strikeout rate remain in the 8.25-8.50 range in the National League is a reasonable expectation.

His walk rate on the road seems far more in-line with what he’s done throughout his career, with a 3.09 BB/9 and prior to ’18 having never posted a mark above 3.23.  He also has routinely posted a strong groundball rate, with a 53.3% career mark and never having a mark lower than 50.0% (which also came in ’18).

Obviously Cincinnati is not the most pitcher friendly ballpark, but the groundball rate should allow him to maintain a mark in the 1.00 HR/9 range.  As long as his stuff plays towards his road Hard% there really shouldn’t be significant concerns.

While Gray isn’t likely to be an All-Star, a sub-4.00 ERA and solid WHIP should be in the cards. He may only throw 150.0 IP or so, but it’s still enough.  As a SP5/SP6 type, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Source – Fangraphs

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