You’d be hard-pressed to look more ready for an Opening Day assignment than Jon Gray did Sunday. The Texas Rangers‘ starter Friday in Toronto to kick off the regular season was in mid-season form in Cactus League play against the Milwaukee Brewers.
It’s exactly what you want to see from your Opening Day starter in his final tune-up in Arizona.
Jon Gray looks ready to tackle his 2022 Opening Day start for the Texas Rangers in Toronto
Gray finished the afternoon with four innings, two walks, one earned run allowed and six punchouts of Brewers hitters. If he can pitch like this during the regular season, the Texas Rangers will certainly feel good about the four year, $60 million contract they signed him to during the winter.
The 30-year-old is no ace, even if he is the de facto one in Arlington this season, but he has the potential to develop into a solid middle of the rotation fixture for years with the Texas Rangers. There is history of tapping into the talent well of pitchers in their 30s here recently, including Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy last season, and Lance Lynn and Mike Minor in seasons prior.
It isn’t ideal that Gray projects as the ace of this pitching staff, but hopefully internal improvements from Dane Dunning, Taylor Hearn, Spencer Howard and others will raise the caliber of this starting staff, the most glaring weakness remaining on the roster But that’s not to say Gray hasn’t earned the Opening Day nod he’s slated to receive Friday against the Blue Jays: he’s the pitcher on this team most deserving of it.
Texas believes the future of their rotation lies in the minors with their stable of quality pitching prospects, so eventually Gray figures to slot in as a veteran presence behind those young arms down the line. For now, though, “Gray Wolf” looked every bit the part Sunday of the honor that was bestowed upon him this season: Opening Day starter for the Texas Rangers.