Acquired by the Yankees at the deadline last season, Sonny Gray was placed with ace-like expectations on his shoulders which were unreasonable given his pitching resume.
While pitching for the Oakland Athletics from 2013-2015 that Sonny Gray posted 73 Starts, 491 IP, 2.83 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and a 8.5 K/9. Mix in the fact that he was named to his first All-Star team while finishing third in the AL CY Young voting (behind David Price and Dallas Keuchel) in 2015 and you have a pitchers resume that makes its way to the top of the pile.
So why have Yankee fans not been excited about Sonny Gray since the day he was signed last July?
Is it his slow pitching pace? Is it because the Yankees did not lean on him heavily in the postseason? Or is it because he has been named the fourth starter (behind Severino, Tanaka, and CC) going into the 2018 season?
My answer is simple: None of the above. Sonny Gray is not the “ace” in which the organization and its fans were anxious to find. And you can’t blame anyone for hoping he would be.
After all, Sonny Gray was putting on Pinstripes during a time where Masahiro Tanaka had a 5.09 ERA. He was joining the Bronx Bombers at a time where the fan base was uncertain if Luis Severino could keep up his stellar performance down the stretch.
While Sonny Gray is not the “ace” that the Yankee faithful was hoping he would be, he did allow just two earned runs or less in EIGHT of his 11 starts in Pinstripes last season. While they may not have been the most stress fee starts to watch, he gave this Yankees offense a GREAT chance to win 72% of his starts.
Yankee fans should be able to live with that. Furthermore, the Yankee faithful should be excited that this is the type of pitcher who is their “number four” heading into this coming season.
Sonny will not overpower you, he will not necessarily instill fear into his opponent, and it won’t always be pretty, but you better believe that it is still Sonny in the Bronx.