THURSDAY: Gray will undergo surgery Friday, Thomas Harding of MLB.com tweets.
WEDNESDAY, 1:56PM: Speaking to MLB.com’s Jake Rill and other reporters, Gray said his injury is another stress fracture, similar to his 2017 injury. Gray indicated that he is considering having surgery to correct the problem, and such a procedure wouldn’t interfere with his readiness for the start of the 2020 season.
12:07PM: Rockies right-hander Jon Gray will miss the rest of the season after suffering a left foot fracture, the team announced. Gray has been placed on the 60-day injured list. Colorado purchased the contract of right-hander Tim Melville from Triple-A, and Melville will take Gray’s spot as the starter for today’s game against the Diamondbacks.
The news brings a premature end to what was looking like the best of Gray’s four full MLB seasons, as the 27-year-old had a 3.84 ERA, 2.68 K/BB rate, and an even 9.0 K/9 over 150 innings for the Rox. It was a nice bounce-back from the 5.12 ERA Gray posted in 172 1/3 frames in 2018, though advanced metrics indicated that he was a little unlucky to post such an inflated ERA, while some of his 2019 ERA indicators (4.06 FIP, 3.89 xFIP, 4.35 SIERA) hint at a bit of good fortune this year. Statcast also paints rather a dour picture of Gray’s 2019 work, as he is in the bottom 10 percent of all pitchers in hard-hit ball rate and fastball spin rate, not to mention a below-average xwOBA.
On the plus side, Gray posted a career-best 50.4% grounder rate and he is still one of the game’s hardest throwers, with an average fastball velocity of 96.1 mph. He was also the rare pitcher who actually performed better at Coors Field (3.46 ERA in 75 1/3 IP) than on the road (4.22 ERA in 74 2/3 IP). With 12.6 fWAR accumulated since the start of the 2016 season, Gray has become a generally reliable, if still a touch inconsistent, rotation stalwart, which is no small feat for a homegrown Rockies pitcher.
While he has been pretty durable over his short career, this is the second time Gray has suffered a major left foot injury, as he spent two and a half months on the injured list in 2017 due to a stress fracture. Still, Gray and German Marquez project as the top two members of the Rockies rotation going forward to 2020, as Kyle Freeland and Tyler Anderson have been respectively bedeviled by inconsistency and injuries this season.
Today’s outing will see Melville make his first Major League appearance since September 26, 2017. The 29-year-old tossed 14 2/3 innings for the Reds, Twins, and Padres in 2016-17, and then went onto pitch in the Orioles’ farm system and in independent baseball until inking a minor league contract with the Rockies back in May. Pitching in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, Melville has a 5.42 ERA and 2.2 HR/9 over 96 1/3 innings at Triple-A this season, though with an 8.8 K/9 and 2.35 K/BB rate.