by Steve Mancuso

Sonny Gray named Opening Day starter

The Reds will start their 2020 campaign on July 24 with Sonny Gray on the mound.

Manager David Bell has named Gray to be the teams starting pitcher on Opening Day. Gray will be followed in the rotation by Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, Wade Miley and Anthony DeSclafani.

In 2019, Gray (30) put up a career-best strikeout rate and ranked 25-28% better than the average major league starter. RC+ was on it early and often, noting Gray’s development last June and July. Matt Wilkes wrote that Gray’s impressive gain in spin rate for his curve and slider might explain his great season. I found that Gray’s 2019 season to be the second-best in the decade for a Reds pitcher.

A couple of our writers covered Gray this spring. Kyle Berger wrote about the Reds having a pair of aces – Gray and Castillo. Matt Korte judged Gray’s change-up to be the fourth best pitch for a 2020 Reds pitcher and his slider (#8) and curve (#6) also in the top ten.

Last year, Sonny Gray was reunited with his pitching coach at Vanderbilt Derek Johnson. Gray and Johnson shared a few words during the pitcher’s bullpen session yesterday.

Bell also announced that Tyler Mahle would make the Opening Day roster as a swingman.

[Featured image: https://twitter.com/Reds/status/1149736445290196994]

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.

2 Comments

  • Mossman Prophecies

    Roll of the dice here: go with the decision based on the dominant 2nd half of the season by Gray or look back to last year and how Castillo came out of the gate on fire. Love that we have these types of decisions in 2020 rather than 2015-18 choices.

  • R Smith

    Does Casali usually catch Gray? If Matthew Boyd is starting Opening Day- a lefty- that would mean Casali is catching as a RH hitter.

    Could be the tiebreaker on who starts between Gray/Castillo.

    Love to see Bauer come out hot and have a Big3.