Sonny Gray Poised for Bright Season for Oakland Athletics

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The Oakland Athletics may have lost two of the aces they went out and acquired in 2014 this winter but they do still have a 25-year-old bright spot leading their staff this season. Nicknamed a “bulldog” by some, Sonny Gray has been consistent for the Athletics in just over a year of work and he could potentially be primed for an All-Star type year in 2015.

Questions still loom on the back end of the A’s rotation, but Gray has already been named the Opening Day starter by Bob Melvin and there was never any doubt.

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After getting called up to the A’s in 2013 and going 5-3 with a 2.67 ERA in 10 starts, Gray was more than able to keep the ball rolling in 2014 with a 14-10 record, a 3.08 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP, according to Baseball Reference.

While a massive amount of pressure was put on Gray in the 2013 postseason, he blew everyone away by dueling against Justin Verlander, helping the A’s earn a victory in Game 2, which resulted in him getting the nod from Melvin for the Game 5 start, where he wasn’t as lucky. The A’s bats obviously didn’t give much of a help as they were shut out but the one take away was that the A’s had a fearless young pitcher that could lead a staff for years.

In 2014, Melvin solidified Gray’s potential, marking him the Opening Day starter for the A’s and while the A’s once again lost, their 10th Opening Day loss in a row, Gray pitched six scoreless innings. But, it would be the final regular season game of 2014 where Gray’s pitching was a portrayal of “ice in his veins” as he would clinch the A’s third straight postseason berth with a complete game shutout of the Texas Rangers in Arlington.

So, for this season, was there any doubt that Gray would be the ace of a staff who will still be lacking the likes of Jarrod Parker? None whatsoever. Gray has stepped up to the mound for the A’s whenever his “54” number’s been called and has shown resilience as well as a veteran prowess way beyond his years.

Gray at the helms of the pitching rotation is something that A’s fans, who are still trying to put numbers to faces, will appreciate. And while the early weight that was put on the pitcher’s shoulders may have seemed too heavy and too sudden, Gray hasn’t shown a slight struggle and this should be the year he reinforces himself as a top-tier pitcher in the MLB.

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