MLBbro Pitcher Josiah Gray Is One Of 26 First-Time MLB All-Stars | The New Generation Is Taking Over
It’s always a blessing to the MLBbro.com family when one of the players who we have covered from the beginning of his MLBbro anointment gets his first All-Star appearance. Particularly, a Melanated Mound Marauder.
We were ecstatic for Devin “Airbender” Williams when he got his first nod in 2022. We looked forward to Hunter Greene and Triston “Dr Sticks” McKenzie breaking out and being a part of the festivities, but injuries have derailed their Midsummer’s Classic dream for at least one more season.
We covered Josiah “Sway” Gray’s first start when he made his debut as the top pitching prospect in the LA Dodgers’ organization, with a real shot of breaking into the rotation.
Since then, he’s been a consistent member of our weekly #HIGHFIVE lists, featuring the top Black and brown MLBbros.
Manager Dave Martinez announced Gray’s All-Star selection in the locker room in front of his teammates.
According to reports, Gray was very emotional and had to take time to gain his composure before briefly addressing his team, who embraced him with “hugs and handshakes” according to mlb.com.
“I kind of just stopped in my tracks. I didn’t think it would be my name,” Gray said. “You dream of playing baseball at this level for years and years as a kid. Being an All-Star is kind of the cherry on top.”
The Youth of MLB Nation Take Over
As one of 26 first-time All-Stars this year, Gray — acquired by the Nationals as one of the cornerstone pieces in the 2021 trade that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers — is reflective of the changing of the guard that MLB is experiencing.
With the retirement of Albert Pujols and with Miguel Cabrera and Andrew McCutchen and Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander already well into the twilight of their careers and closer to the end, the faces of the game are changing.
Even Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have company in the popularity department, and they have been the faces of MLB for the past decade.
New blood like Josiah Gray is on the scene.
American League Has 0 Bro Pitchers
While the American League failed to select any MLBbro pitchers for its staff, Gray will be joined on the NL staff by Chicago Cubs veteran ace Marcus Stroman and Milwaukee Brewers elite closer Williams.
Being traded to the rebuilding Nats and its band of Bros was the best thing that ever happened to Gray. He didn’t have the pressure of performing immediately that he would have had with the Dodgers who are contending for a World Series ring every season.
He showed flashes of immense potential in his first season, but struggled a ton at times, posting a 5.02 ERA over 28 starts last season while allowing an MLB-high 38 home runs over 148 2/3 innings.
But in between those rough starts, Gray tossed some gems and showed ace possibilities when he toted the mound. He used that first season as a launching pad to great things. He made some adjustments, stopped relying on his four-seamer so much, and through 17 starts this season, Gray has a 3.30 ERA and he’s allowed just 12 homers over 95 1/3 innings.
He’s the unquestioned ace of the Washington Nationals staff and will continue to grow as his team’s talented nucleus and budding minor league prospects mature.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) April 26, 2023
Josiah Gray Looking Forward To Being Around Legends At MLB All-Star Week
It still hasn’t hit Jo Gray that he’s now among baseball’s elite at his craft and he needs to start acting like it because as much as he is in awe of the greats, there’s a growing legion of young fans who look at the guy we call ‘Sway’ Gray, in the same way.
“It’s going to be so cool just to see all the guys there,” Gray said. “Just to meet maybe like Aaron Judge or getting to shake hands with Mike Trout or Shohei Ohtani. I’ve faced them a few times, but just to see them up close and personal, and kind of be on the same level, will be really cool.”
It will also be cool when he steps on the mound in Seattle and makes some history of his own, while continuing the tradition of melanated mound marauders who have risen to the top of the game.