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« Postseason Batting - It's Hanley and Everyone Else | Main | Nine Red Sox-Rays Stats of Note »

A Brilliant Sonny Gray as Forecasted

Sonny Gray was brilliant last night for the Oakland A's last night in the Oakland 1-0 win over the Tigers that tied the ALDS at 1-1.

Justin Verlander was brilliant as well, but we have seen that many, many times before, so we are not focusing on him this morning. But most of the world of baseball fans had not seen Gray before in his 10 prior big leagues starts and in one of the best games of this baseball season they got to see a 23-year old righty who would not fit in with the Red Sox because all he seems able to grow is a wisp of a mustache.

Let's take a deep dive into Gray's performance last night

Sonny Gray vs the Tigers 10/5/2013
IP P P/PA Fast# Curv# Slid# H BB K Strk# Strk% AVG OBP SLUG
Sonny Gray 8.0 111 3.83 82 27 2 4 2 9 65 58.6% .154 .214 .154

Look at the speed differential in Gray's pitches

Sonny Gray vs the Tigers 10/5/2013
P Strk# Strk% Vel MxVel Zone% Chas% ClStk% Miss% Foul%
Fastball 82 47 57.3% 93.6 96.0 50.0% 17.1% 27.1% 11.8% 44.1%
Curveball 27 17 63.0% 81.0 82.1 40.7% 43.8% 33.3% 33.3% 41.7%
Slider 2 1 50.0% 82.7 83.2 0.0% 50.0% 0.0% 100.0% 0.0%

Gray by count

Sonny Gray vs the Tigers 10/5/2013
P Strk# Strk% Vel MxVel Zone% Chas% ClStk% Miss% Foul%
0-0 Count 29 16 55.2% 91.2 95.4 58.6% 8.3% 48.0% 0.0% 75.0%
Two strikes 26 17 65.4% 87.5 96.0 38.5% 43.8% 25.0% 42.9% 28.6%
Pitcher's Count 36 19 52.8% 87.4 96.0 30.6% 32.0% 10.5% 35.3% 35.3%
Hitter's Count 31 17 54.8% 92.7 94.9 51.6% 6.7% 0.0% 5.9% 47.1%
Even Count 44 29 65.9% 91.0 95.4 56.8% 31.6% 51.6% 15.4% 46.2%

Two graphics speak volumes

You have seen the numbers, but the best way to truly appreciate what Gray did last night is by looking at where his pitchers went and, in the process, see why the Tigers were flailing and flustered

Gray's Fastball
Of the 82 fastballs that Gray threw, 34 were in the upper half of the zone and 64 were in the outer half of the zone.
Gray FB
Gray's Breaking Balls
Of the 29 breaking balls (27 curves, two sliders) that Gray threw, 25 were in the lower half of the zone and 17 were in the outer half of the zone.
Gray BB

Gray only threw 10 pitches in the middle of the plate to three batters who swung at eight of them, fouled five of them off and went 0-for-3 on the other three.

The forecast is bright for Oakland

I believe it is required to make some kind of meteorological comment when writing about Sonny Gray, consider it done.

Gray was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the first round (18th pick) of the 2011 amateur draft and he is under the A's control until free agency year of 2019. Maybe by then he'll be able to grow a Red Sox beard

But, I leave you with Tigers' manager Jim Leyland's words, who summed it up perfectly:
“Gray was everything as advertised, a live fastball coupled with an electric curve. I have to give him a lot of credit. I mean we’re not swinging the bats the way we’re capable, but you can’t take anything away from that performance."

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