Gray Gets Call To The Big Leagues
Gray was promoted to Oakland on Friday.
Gray was promoted to Oakland on Friday.
Senior Editor
Posted Sep 5, 2008

Jeff Gray's journey from 32nd round pick to major league pitcher was completed on Friday when the Oakland A's recalled the 26-year-old right-hander to assist with their thin bullpen.

Hard-throwing right-hander Jeff Gray will become the 12th rookie to make his major league debut with the Oakland A's this season. Gray, a 32nd round pick of the A's in 2004, was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Friday. He will assist an Oakland bullpen stretched thin by two double-headers in three days.

The Southwest Missouri State alum was added to the A's 40-man roster during the off-season after a 2007 campaign when he had a 3.34 ERA and 15 saves in 67.1 innings for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento. After winning a PCL title with Sacramento last season, Gray was part of the Arizona Fall League title-winning Phoenix Desert Dogs' squad in the fall of 2007.

Gray has spent the entire 2008 season with Triple-A Sacramento. It has been an up-and-down year for the right-hander. Overall, he has a 4.39 ERA in 67.2 innings for the River Cats, but he has been pitching better lately. In 15.2 innings during the month of August, Gray had a 2.30 ERA and three saves.

Originally a starter, Gray was converted into a reliever in 2006 with Low-A Kane County. He would finish that year with High-A Stockton. As a starter, Gray generally threw his fastball in the 88-91 range. However, when he moved into the bullpen, Gray saw his fastball velocity leap into the mid-90s.

Gray was as surprised as anyone about the increase in velocity.

"To be honest with you, I really haven’t figured out where it came from. As a starter, I was always upper-80s, maybe low-90s. Now I am throwing pretty hard and people always ask: ‘where did it come from?’" Gray told last season.

"The only thing that I have figured out that may have helped me was that I did a couple of things with my mechanics. I was finally able to figure out where everything had to be at the right time to increase my velocity a bit. Also, as a starter, you kind of want to last a little longer, so I was concentrating more on throwing strikes [than throwing hard]. In the bullpen, you can just push a couple of extra [miles per hour] and I think that something to do with it. I also think that my arm kind of matured a little bit. It kind of got a little stronger and I lost a little weight. I wasn’t as big as I was the last couple of years coming out of college. I think it might be a combination of all of those things, to be honest with you."

During his five-year minor league career, Gray has played for all six of the A's North American minor league affiliates. In 175 minor league appearances, he has a 3.60 ERA.

For more information about Jeff Gray, you can view his profile here.

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