By Jack Etkin
It’s impossible to understate the importance of Jon Gray to the Rockies. They have two top-flight starters at the head of their rotation in left-hander Kyle Freeland and German Marquez. And they would have a third if Gray can become more consistent this season and finally realize his vast potential.
That’s not to dismiss left-hander Tyler Anderson and Chad Bettis, the remaining members of the rotation. They’re the elder statesmen at 29 of a young rotation, very capable and it’s not like the Rockies know the bullpen will shoulder a large load on the days they pitch. Not at all. But their ceilings aren’t as high as Gray’s, and they haven’t shown the complete dominance Gray has _ in spurts.
The Rockies won 91 games last season and played a 163rd game and lost to the Dodgers to decide the National League West. And the strength of the 2018 Rockies was their rotation, which led the NL in innings pitched (930). The five starters mentioned above took the mound 149 times and compiled a 55-38 record.
Gray is a power pitcher with command. He threw a four-hit shutout in his 38th career start Sept. 17, 2016, with no walks and 16 strikeouts. Even with all those strikeouts that night against the Padres at Coors Field, Gray only threw 113 pitches. And 78 of them were strikes.
A steady, dependable Gray could give the rotation and the rest of his teammates an immense lift this season.
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