After 2 consecutive losses in the World Series, Los Angeles probably feels a bit gray. We would all be better off if it was a bit more Sonny.
If you did not see that, The Dodgers should try to buy righthanded pitcher Sonny Gray from the New York Yankees. Yes, the same Sonny Gray came from a season in which he had a 4.90 ERA, 4.17 FIP, 4.10 xFIP and 5.00 DRA in 130.1 innings.
When he was on the Oakland A & # 39; s in 2017, there was constant speculation that he was a target for the Dodgers. He was eventually traded at the Yankees where his career was getting worse, but we'll come back to that.
Out of season, the Dodgers are connected with about every top starter that is available. Although Gray is not an obvious candidate for & # 39; topstarter available & # 39 ;, there are a few underlying reasons to assume that he could be a forerunner of the spinwimmer again.
Gray, 29, was the staff division of the Oakland athletics in 2014 and 2015. He threw both seasons over 200 innings and placed a 3.08 and 2.73 ERA in those years. The following year he did not have to stay healthy and that led to on-field fights. During the 2017 season he returned and was back to his old self until he was traded at the Yankees. In 2018 he was bad, and the Yankees are openly documented in their attempts to trade him out of season.
Gray is currently in his final year of arbitration, MLB Trade Rumors is projecting him to earn $ 9.1 million for the 2019 season.
A deeper look at Gray
If you look at Gray, you see that his style did not match the Yankees philosophy. The Yankees limit the use of their pitchers fastball and let them throw more off-speed pitches. In 2017, the year in which they acquired Gray, their pitchers fastballs threw only 44.9% of the time, which was the lowest in the league. In 2018 they were again last in the competition with 47.4%. That number dropped to 41.3% when only their starting pitchers were checked.
By comparison, the Dodgers had pitchers pitch 54.8% of the throwers and throw their starters 47.8% of the time. Part of the gap for the Dodgers is probably because Walker Buehler and Rich Hill were the only starters of Dodgers with really good fastballs. Nearly 60% of Hill & # 39; s and Buehler's fields were fastballs, so the Dodgers are clearly in order with high fastball use.
When Gray was successful, he threw his fastball somewhere between 55% and 62% of the time. The Yankees had reduced him to 35% to throw his cutter more (2% with the A & # 39; s to 20% with the Yankees) and his curveball more (14% with the A & # 39; s to 23% with the Yankees). What is so important is that Fangraphs regarded his cutter as his worst pitch.
As a result, this led to an increase in the percentage of hard hits and walking speed without being significantly improved in anything else. That is a recipe for disaster for every pitcher. There is a lot of reason to assume that Gray can return in shape with improved pitch sequencing, something that the Dodgers are good at with their pitchers.
Another reason to be optimistic about Gray is that his average fastball spinning speed is still above the competition average at 2448 rpm. That is even higher than his average in 2015, his best season, of 2362 RPM. His average spinning speed on all of his pitches in 2015 was 2315 RPM and in 2018 this was an average of 2533 RPM. That is probably also the reason that his strikeout numbers have increased slightly, even during his fight (20% to 21% and 22%). It is also a possible indication that his things are still good and not declining. It may be better.
Sonny Gray is the perfect buy-low candidate. He has only 1 year control over, he comes from a bad year, the Yankees have no place in his rotation, he does not fit in their pitch philosophy. All in all, his projected contract is not worth the effort for the Yankees and it probably lowers his value if they hold him to start the season.
Because the Dodgers already start throwing deep, they can afford to take on a risky but high reward player. When he is at work, they add a new top starter and improve their bullpen by moving one of their current starters, probably Kenta Maeda. If it does not work, the Dodgers are still fine. They could also try to turn him into a reliever as they have done successfully or tried to do with other starting pitchers.
The costs of acquiring Gray must be quite low for a player with his talents. It would not be for one of their toppers. I do not want to discard a trade suggestion, but players like Yadier Alvarez or Edwin Rios may be interested in the Yankees. Both have some advantage and are blocked on the selection of the Dodgers.
Of course we all want the Corey Kluber & # 39; s and Noah Syndergaard & # 39; s of the world, but sometimes the best move is not obvious.
Alex Verdugo switches representation