Cincinnati Reds news: Sonny Gray and Curt Casali readying for season

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 05: Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 05: Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

While waiting for baseball to return, Cincinnati Reds battery mates Sonny Gray and Curt Casali are readying for the season.

I believe 60 feet 6 inches exceeds the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing, right? Cincinnati Reds battery-mates and Vanderbilt alums Sonny Gray and Curt Casali we’re getting in some work yesterday in preparation for the 2020 season. While a date has yet to be set for the Major League Baseball season to begin, when it does, Gray and Casali will be ready to go.

The Vandy Boys were hard at it yesterday. Sonny Gray attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee from 2008-2011. In 2010, Gray led the Commodores in strikeouts (112) while posting a 3.48 ERA. The following season, before being selected in the first-round of the MLB Draft by the Oakland A’s, Gray went 12-4 with 2.43 ERA and 132 strikeouts.

Gray’s battery mate, Curt Casali, attended Vanderbilt during that same timeframe. Casali’s most productive campaign came in 2011, when he owned a .305 batting average, racked up 19 doubles and 53 RBIs. Vanderbilt went the College World Series for the first time ever during the 2011 season, eventually falling to the Florida Gators.

Both Sonny Gray and Curt Casali are expected to be huge pieces in the Cincinnati Reds efforts to return to the postseason in 2020. Casali was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2018 season and Gray joined the Reds via trade from the New York Yankees in January of 2019. Both put up career numbers in 2019.

In limited playing time, Curt Casali put up 1.2 WAR according to Baseball Reference. That’s good enough for fifth among position players, ranking ahead of the likes of Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel and fellow catcher Tucker Barnhart. Casali hit .251 with a career-high in RBIs (32) while playing in just 84 games.

Sonny Gray led the team in WAR (5.6) and was dominant during the second half of the 2019 season. Gray set a career-high in strikeouts (205) while winning 11 games and putting up a very solid 2.87 ERA to lead the team.

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While we don’t yet know when the 2020 baseball season will start, it’s good to see a couple Cincinnati Reds players able to get in some work. Hopefully that bodes well for both Gray and Casali when the season gets underway.