LOS ANGELES – While Nationals fans may not have much to look forward to this season, one bright spot is young right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray.
After a shaky first start against the Mets on April 8, Gray pitched a dominant five scoreless innings. He only allowed one hit, three walks and five strikeouts last Wednesday against the defending world champion Braves, earning his first win of the season.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 13, 2022
This start shows Gray’s potential as a pitcher. Drafted in the second round of the 2018 draft by the Cincinnati Reds, Gray has played for three teams since his MLB debut. He was originally dealt from the Reds to the Dodgers in December of 2018, and then from the Dodgers to the Nationals near last season’s trading deadline.
Some critics argue that Gray isn’t an all-star player due to the frequency of his trades, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Gray has been a key piece in both of the blockbuster trades he was a part of.
He was traded to the Dodgers— along with Homer Bailey and Jeter Downs—for Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, and Kyle Farmer. Gray was the main player that the Dodgers really wanted in that deal. The team released Bailey immediately, and Downs was traded away a year later.
When the Dodgers traded for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, Gray was the main asset that the Nationals wanted in return. A prospect who has the potential to help bolster that rotation, like Scherzer did for so many years.
Gray was terrific during his development in the minor leagues. His highest ERA in a season was 2.87.
He lost five games total, while winning 14 games. In addition, Gray has a four-pitch arsenal, averaging a solid 90 to 95 mph fastball, along with a good curveball, slider, and changeup.
Gray has all the attributes that a team wants in a star pitcher. The next step for Gray’s development is showing consistency.
In order to be the pitcher that the Nationals need him to be, and get the team back into playoff contention, Gray needs to consistently perform like his last start—showing that he can really hang and flourish in the big leagues, and that he is someone that they can very much count on.
Gray’s next start should be during the team’s upcoming series this week against the Diamondbacks in Washington D.C.
The Diamondbacks are projected to be one of the worst teams in all of baseball, so this will be a good chance for Gray to show how reliable and consistent of a pitcher he really is.