Gray in August 2013
Oakland Athletics – No. 54
Born: November 7, 1989|
|July 10, 2013 for the Oakland Athletics|
(through May 23, 2015)
|Earned run average||2.80|
Career highlights and awards
Sonny Douglas Gray (born November 7, 1989) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball. He was a first-round draft pick by the Athletics in the 2011 MLB Draft.
Sonny was born in Nashville, Tennessee to Cindy and Jesse Gray and lived in Nashville until his family moved to Smyrna, Tennessee before his eighth grade year. His father Jesse died in a car accident during Sonny's freshman year of high school, just as Sonny started playing baseball for Smyrna High School.
Sonny Gray was an outstanding athlete and his career started at Una Recreation Center in Nashville, where at four years old he was hitting home runs playing with five and six year olds in the coach pitch division. He also started playing football at age five for the Una Bears. He was the starting quarterback for numerous Mid State championship teams until age 12.
Smyrna High School (2004-2008)
As a freshman, he pitched and played left field and was named Freshman of the Year in District 9AAA. As a sophomore, he suffered injuries and saw limited action during the season. As a junior, he led his team to the 2007 State Tournament with a masterful 11–2 record and a 0.95 ERA. This earned him a nod for the AFLAC All-American High School Baseball Classic and a nomination for National Player of the Year (which Tim Melville ultimately won). As a senior, he dominated once again, going 4–0 with a 0.79 ERA. However, he was injured in a district game against Hendersonville in April 2008 and never played again. He also excelled at the plate, batting over .500 his last two seasons at Smyrna, but instead opted to pitch in college.
In addition to his success on the mound, he also played quarterback for Smyrna's football team, guiding them to back-to-back 5A State titles in 2006 and 2007. He was voted Gatorade Player of the Year by The Tennessean in 2007 and 2008 for his overall athletic success.
Having already made a verbal commitment to Vanderbilt University before Smyrna's state tournament run, he was drafted in the 27th round by the Chicago Cubs in the 2008 MLB Draft. He did not sign with the team.
Vanderbilt University (2008-2011)
As a freshman at Vanderbilt, he began as a relief pitcher, earning four saves before moving to a starter's role late in the season. Although posting a 4.30 ERA, he improved over the next two years. He was designated as the ace of Vandy's staff in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, he went 10-5 with a 3.48 ERA, but lead the team in strikeouts (113). Sonny's junior year was his most successful, as he went 12-4 with a 2.43 ERA and 132 Ks. He also helped Vandy earn their first-ever College World Series berth, making it to the semifinals and losing to national runner-up Florida.
Sonny elected to forgo his senior year at Vanderbilt and entered the draft. He was selected 18th overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 2011 MLB Draft and was signed for $1.54 million signing bonus.
Gray, after being drafted, was optioned to the Athletics' Double-A affiliate, the Midland RockHounds, where he posted an 0.45 ERA in 5 games, all of which were games that he started.
The next year, Gray again began his season at Double-A, despite his performance the season before. There, he posted a 4.14 ERA before being promoted to Triple-A Sacramento RiverCats, where he struggled to the tune of a 9.00 ERA in a single start.
On July 10, 2013, Gray was called up to replace Dan Straily, who had been optioned to Triple-A. He made his first major league appearance out of the bullpen, in relief of Jerry Blevins, against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh. Gray pitched two innings, tallying three strikeouts and allowing a single hit. He did not allow a run, nor a walk. Gray made a second relief appearance nine days later in Anaheim but was then sent back down to the minors.
Gray was recalled again by the A's on August 10, and made his first Major League start against Mark Buehrle and the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto. This was supposed to be just a spot start in Tommy Milone's place in the rotation after Milone's struggles and subsequent option down to Triple-A Sacramento. However, Gray has since become a fixture in the A's rotation as the fifth starter.
On September 22, Gray pitched and won the AL West Division-clinching game against the Minnesota Twins in an 11-7 A's victory. He finished the regular season, going 5-3 in 12 games (10 starts) with a 2.67 ERA, striking out 67 in 64 innings.
On October 5, Gray started Game 2 of the American League Division Series against Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers. In a no-decision effort, he pitched 8 scoreless innings before a 9th inning walk-off hit by Stephen Vogt resulted in a 1-0 Oakland win. In a surprise move, Gray was elected to start Game 5 over Bartolo Colón. Facing Justin Verlander, Gray pitched 5+ innings, giving up 6 hits and 3 runs, getting the loss in the 3-0 game.
Despite not having previously been on an Opening Day roster, Gray made his first career Opening Day start on March 31st against the Cleveland Indians. He started the season 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA, while also recording his first complete game shutout, and 37 strikeouts in 41.0 innings pitched over six starts in April. For his early success, he was named AL Pitcher of the Month for the first time in his career. He would later go on to win AL Pitcher of the Month for July, as well. On the final day of the regular season, Sonny clinched the Athletics' third consecutive playoff spot with a complete game win on the road against the Texas Rangers. The A's would go on to lose the 2014 AL Wild Card Game to the Kansas City Royals in extra innings.
Sonny was tabbed for a second straight Opening Day start for the Oakland Athletics on April 6th against the Texas Rangers. He pitched 8 innings and allowed only 1 hit, holding the Rangers hitless until the 8th inning.
On January 27, 2015, Gray and his girlfriend welcomed their newborn son Gunnar Carmack Gray.
- "A's Select RHP Sonny Gray in First Round of 2011 First-Year Player Draft | oaklandathletics.com: Official Info". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
- "Sonny Gray". Sports-Reference. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- "A's select RHP Gray from Sacramento; option RHP Straily to Sacramento". Oakland A's Press Release. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- Jarosh, Noah (August 10, 2013). "Athletics recall Sonny Gray to be part of rotation". Retrieved August 10, 2013.
- "Phenomenal Pitching Put Vogt in Position to Even ALDS". CBS Sacramento. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- "A's Go Down Meekly in Game Five Again, Lose 3-0 to Tigers". CBS San Francisco. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- VU Commodores.com
- Sonny Gray