While there are many fans of the Dodgers who thought the team’s haul from the seven-player trade with the Reds would quickly be flipped for a high-impact player, both Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray are still preparing themselves for a season on the Los Angeles farm.
As it stands now, Downs is rated the seventh-best prospect in the entire system by MLB Pipeline, and at 21 years of age, Gray is ranked 16th on the list. When he was shipped out of Cincinnati, Gray was ranked as the Reds’ 12th-best prospect.
A little over a week ago, we took a close look at Downs, providing some insight as to where exactly he stands on the organizational ladder. Today, we’ll take a quick glance at Gray.
Gray played collegiately for three years at Le Moyne College in New York. During his first two campaigns there, he was an infielder with a very strong arm, much like his new teammates Pedro Baez, Dennis Santana and Brock Stewart were at one point of their young careers.
Pitching finally stuck with the New York native when he competed in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2017. When he went back to Le Moyne the following year, all he did was go 11-0 with a ridiculous 1.25 ERA, striking out 120 batters over 93-1/3 innings. At that point, the 6’1″, 190 lb. righty had a feeling he was destined for the bigs.
Forgoing his senior year of college, Gray was selected by the Reds 72nd overall as a supplemental pick in the 2018 draft. He made it to rookie league Greeneville just in time to make 12 starts, where he posted a 2-2 record with a 2.58 ERA and 59 punchouts over 52-1/3 innings of work. Opponents hit just .155 against him.
As far as his repertoire goes, Gray’s bread and butter is his heater, which has some natural cutting action and sits comfortably in the mid-nineties. It has been clocked as high as 98 MPH. For his age, he commands his fastball extremely well.
His slider is also considered a plus pitch, but it often lacks command, unlike his fastball. He also throws a changeup that’s also a bit raw. Presently, he’s being groomed as a starter, but based on the brilliance of his four-seamer, he may eventually end up throwing in relief.
Doug Gray from RedsMinorLeagues.com made a few notes about Josiah after watching him throw several times late last summer.
“The things you like with Josiah Gray are easily seen. He’s very athletic on the mound and has a fast arm. He’s capable of locating his fastball in the strikezone quite well and the pitch has some movement and velocity. The slider shows itself often as an above-average offering, too. And of course, there are the numbers. Gray dominated everywhere in 2018—both in college and in the Appalachian League.”
As it stands right now, Gray is listed on the rookie league Ogden Raptors’ team roster, but don’t be surprised to see him bumped up to Low-A Great Lakes sooner rather than later, so long as he’s still in the organization come spring.