Grading the Texas Rangers’ off-season acquisitions
SP Jon Gray: B
The Rangers have their rotation ace in Jon Gray after signing him to a four-year deal in November. Gray spent seven years with the Rockies and broke out as one of the bright spots in a historically weak franchise when it comes to pitching. As recently as 2019, Gray was a 4.0 WAR player, striking out 180+ batters in a season and thriving about as one can be expected to when pitching at 5,000 feet.
What remains to be seen is whether his performance will enhance by playing outside of Coors Field in Denver’s high elevation. However, contrary to popular belief, Gray’s stats have actually been better *in* Coors rather than away. In 2022, he posted 80 K’s in 78 innings, a 1.15 WHIP, and eight out of 14 possible quality starts at home. On the road, he only had three quality starts in 15 games pitched, and his ERA shot up to 5.22 as opposed to 4.02 at home.
Entering his age 30 season, Gray poses as a low risk, high reward type player for the club. He has struggled since 2020, at least compared to some of his more promising seasons in 2017 and 2019, but pitching in a climate-controlled setting could bring out some of his best stuff. He’s eclipsed 150 strikeouts four times in seven years. He’s a career 19.7% fly ball percentage pitcher (which is really good!). Will he see a resurgence and a return to form in Arlington? If he can stay healthy, after having had a variety of sporadic injuries throughout his career, the Rangers may get their answer and be pleased with it.