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  • Twins MLB Draft Profile: Jonathan Gray, RHP

    Who IS This Guy?
    Jonathan Gray is a right-handed college starting pitcher who has rocketed up the charts, becoming one of the two most coveted picks in the draft. Coming into the college season he was a decent but not remarkable prospect, but that was before posting 127 strikeouts (in 110 IP), a 9-2 record and a 1.55 ERA (pre-NCAA tournament). It was also before he unveiled improvements on two outstanding pitches.

    The first is an “80” fastball that tops three digits on occasion, as it did last week (102 mph), striking out the last batter of a 129-pitch complete game in the NCAA regionals. Coming into the year, he had never shown that kind of velocity, but this year he worked between 94 and 97 all season.

    He also shows a “plus” slider that has also improved due to a tweak in the grip (running the middle finger down the right side of the horseshoe) that has increased the velocity and tightened the break. He has also shown a curveball and changeup, though both need to be further developed.

    Who Could He Be?

    He’s on track to be a #1 pitcher. But it’s been a short track.

    Gray might have the most upside of any pitcher in the draft, or at the very least the most of any of the college pitchers. Compared to the other top name, Mark Appel, Gray might have the higher ceiling but has less history on which to base that projection.

    How Soon Could He Be Playing In Target Field?

    The path the Twins took with Matt Garza, another first round pick, albeit 25th overall, provides a clue. Garza was fast-tracked through the system due to his success and the state of the Twins starting rotation. The best guess is…

    2013 – Twins have him pitch in rookie league and maybe low A but are careful about piling much wear and tear on his arm (especially if his Oklahoma coach keeps throwing him out there for 129-pitch outings.)
    2014 – High A and maybe AA.
    2015 – AA or AAA with a possible late season call-up.

    If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Messed Up Because…

    The most obvious reasoning used to criticize this pick would be to say that they got carried away with a player whose value was built on one-year’s performance and improvement. But, provided he signs, it would be hard to legitimately criticize, even if he doesn’t make it to the majors for some unforeseen reason. Knowing what we know, he’s the complete package and fits an area of extreme need in the organization.

    If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Nailed It Because…

    Well, they probably got lucky, because for most of the last two months Gray wasn’t supposed to be available at #4. However, in Keith Law’s latest mock draft, he had Gray falling into their laps – and then the Twins passed on him for high school pitching prospect Kohl Stewart. Though the Twins are clearly enamored with Stewart, Gray has similar (if not more) upside without the risks associated of drafting a high school pitcher. Oh – and he’s likely to arrive in the majors sooner.

    More than any other player in the draft, Gray might be the perfect choice for the Twins.
    ---

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    This article was originally published in blog: Twins MLB Draft Profile: Jonathan Gray, RHP started by John Bonnes
    Comments 72 Comments
    1. Red Bull's Avatar
      Red Bull -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      Adderall, I imagine, is a significantly stronger, better performing stimulant than, say, the greenies players took in the 70s and 80s to gain an edge. I wouldn't dismiss the benefits such a drug would give players out on the mound, given how much focus, concentration, and mental endurance are part of a good pitcher's make up.
      Heres whats up with Adderal. Its an Amphetamine which means its a stimulant. It would help to know how much he was taking because theres a big difference if he was taking a little compared to alot. If you take a small dose(Which is what students usulay do) you dont really notice anything, you just stay awake longer. If you take a large dose you get alot of energy, become very focused and you get Euphoria. When you take a large dose you feel like you could do anything, you just feel so good and energized. Its like you want to work because you have so much energy and euphoria. Thats why taking a large dose really does give a player an edge.

      If hes taking high doses I wouldnt take this guy. Like I said with a high dose you get an amazing edge. Maybe thats why he was so good this year compared to last year? Btw im a recovering addict that has done every drug out there. A high dose of amphetamines is one of the best highs, you feel like superman.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      I don't think it's so much that he's on Adderall. It's that he didn't jump through the necessary hoops (go to the doctor and get a prescription) to legally possess the drug.

      That's what I've been told anyway.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Based on conversations with scouts and agents, neither player figures to drop because of the positive tests. Two club officials said their teams believed Gray’s use of Adderall was a one-time mistake and wouldn’t be held against him.
      Glassey of BA
    1. Red Bull's Avatar
      Red Bull -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      I don't think it's so much that he's on Adderall. It's that he didn't jump through the necessary hoops (go to the doctor and get a prescription) to legally possess the drug.

      That's what I've been told anyway.
      Thats another angle to look at but if hes getting jacked up before games hes giving imself an edge. Unless you have felt that edge you dont know what im talking about. It gives you so much energy and makes you feel so good. You feel like superman. It would allow him to have a high energy level and be able to sustain it throughout the game. Everyone says its so amazing how he keeps his velocity up in the later innings, this could be the reason hes able to do that.
    1. Ncgo4's Avatar
      Ncgo4 -
      "A poor work ethic", "Consistently out of shape", and now we find out he's amping up before games? I don't care if he can throw it 95 MPH through a key hole the twins don't touch this kid. This all points to emotional & character issues and we've been there and done that with Mr. Young. He'll be available and the Twins will pass and that will be a good thing.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Baseball has a super rich history of greenies and other stimulants......it's funny to me that people think this is a big deal.

      It does not point to character or emotional issues, it points to using a stimulant, like coffee or red bull or greenies or whatever that professional athletes have been using since the, well, forever.
    1. Ncgo4's Avatar
      Ncgo4 -
      If it were just that, i'd agree. But CMB0252 mentioned the other two things and together they raise (to my mind at least) a big character issue.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      No, it does not give him an edge. If he were taking the LSAT then maybe it would, but we're not. His FB isn't going to be 1-2 mph faster, his slider isn't going to break any more, this drug is not a physical drug. Now, he might be able to remember specific game-plans or pitches batter missed or even how many outs there are. Just because you "feel" like superman, does not make you superman. Stimulants are for the brain, steroids are for the body. They are not, and do not do the same thing. I have a hard time believe adderall has played much into his season at all, unless he actually needs to use it.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      No, it does not give him an edge. If he were taking the LSAT then maybe it would, but we're not. His FB isn't going to be 1-2 mph faster, his slider isn't going to break any more, this drug is not a physical drug. Now, he might be able to remember specific game-plans or pitches batter missed or even how many outs there are. Just because you "feel" like superman, does not make you superman. Stimulants are for the brain, steroids are for the body. They are not, and do not do the same thing. I have a hard time believe adderall has played much into his season at all, unless he actually needs to use it.
      More NFL players are using stimulants to improve performance. The brain is the master control for the body - sharpening your reflexes and attention to detail in a sport could very easily create some significant advantages. I've read a few stories NFL-centric (out of Seattle I think) saying stimulants like this are becoming a backdoor way for players to try and improve performance.

      If a sport like football - FAR more physical - is finding a use for this stimulant, I imagine you could in baseball as well. Especially when mental fatigue in a 162 game season is a very real factor.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      KLAW report includes commentary from Tony Gwynn, estimating that more than half of MLB players while he played used stimulants........
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      I would argue that football is different in that many plays require fast reaction time. I can see how using a stimulant would be a benefit in that scenario. A pitcher isn't relying on reaction time, mostly just mental strength which a stimulant might hurt by increasing neural activity. I took it in college for a few all-nighters, and I found the positives to be mitigated by the negatives. Perhaps it is playing into his success and I'm wrong, I'm not a Dr. in neural, just taken a few classes on the brain.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      I would argue that football is different in that many plays require fast reaction time. I can see how using a stimulant would be a benefit in that scenario. A pitcher isn't relying on reaction time, mostly just mental strength which a stimulant might hurt by increasing neural activity. I took it in college for a few all-nighters, and I found the positives to be mitigated by the negatives. Perhaps it is playing into his success and I'm wrong, I'm not a Dr. in neural, just taken a few classes on the brain.
      Well your earlier point was to refute it because it wasn't a physical booster and my point is that even in largely physical sports, mental acumen is crucial.

      i don't know if it helps, but it sure seems there is a rich history of guys in baseball who believed it did.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Correct me if I'm wrong but there aren't any studies out there linking stimulants to improved play athletically, is there? Instead, what this says to me on its face is that the kid likes to get high.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Wow, what unfortunate timing for this report to come out. Obvioulsy a coincidence. Surely no unethical front office would leak this hoping he would slide to them.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      Correct me if I'm wrong but there aren't any studies out there linking stimulants to improved play athletically, is there? Instead, what this says to me on its face is that the kid likes to get high.
      So all those MLB players like to get high? It isn't about studies, it is about belief, and for more than 6 decades at least, MLB players and others have believed that stimulants help them. heck, there are studies showing steroids don't help all that much, but people still took them.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      College students/athletes taking drugs? Wow--earhshattering. You are aware ths stuff is routinely given to school kids in special Ed? Performance enhancing? Guys will darn near do anything to keep-up-with-the-Jones.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      So all those MLB players like to get high?
      Would that be so far-fetched? Brain scans have shown that thrill seeking and addiction originate from the same area of the brain. Athletes tend to be thrill seekers.

      And not to get too catchartic here but have you ever taken an ADHD test? They're a joke. As someone whose experimented with all manner of uppers, downers, laughers, and screamers, including Adderall, the main difference betwen Adderall and other drugs is that Adderall is much easier to get. It will get you just as high as other drugs.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      Correct me if I'm wrong but there aren't any studies out there linking stimulants to improved play athletically, is there? Instead, what this says to me on its face is that the kid likes to get high.
      I too believe that neither the world, nor any of it's phenomena, exist prior to double blind studies.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      I too believe that neither the world, nor any of it's phenomena, exist prior to double blind studies.
      All I'm saying is that in my view, the bigger conclusion to draw when an athlete tests positive for a psychoactive like Adderall, as opposed to testosterone or HGH, is not just that you might have a cheater on your hands, its that you might also be looking at an addict.

      Guys can work around a 50 game suspension. An addiction, maybe not.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      So 50+ years of MLB players taking stimulants because they believe it improves their games, is all about addiction, and not what they've all said which is that it is about using PEDs?
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