This former Reds pitcher chasing his 1st career Cy Young Award

Minnesota Twins pitcher Sonny Gray
Minnesota Twins pitcher Sonny Gray / David Berding/GettyImages

Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Sonny Gray is off to the best start of his major league career.

The starter spent three years in Cincinnati, where Gray compiled a respectable 3.49 ERA and 432 strikeouts in his 367 innings in a Reds uniform.

Gray brought many good memories to the fans of Cincinnati, as he was able to wow the crowd with his fastball and plethora of breaking balls.

This former Reds pitcher chasing his 1st career Cy Young Award.

But the best season of Sonny Gray's career, at least so far, has been this year with the Minnesota Twins. Gray is off to a Cy Young-caliber start, where he appears to be one of the front runners for the award through 10 starts.

Through those 10 starts, he has a minuscule 1.82 ERA, 2.01 FIP, 66 strikeouts and has yet to allow a home run in over 50 innings pitched. But what changed? What has been the difference between this year compared to Gray's last few seasons?

In 2023, Gray has made a few key changes. First, the right-hander combined his slider and sweeper into one pitch with it being labeled a sweeper. According to Baseball Savant, this pitch has had good success, allowing a .190 batting average in the 16% of the time he has thrown it.


Gray has also lowered his four-seam fastball usage from 28.3-percent in 2022 to 16.8-percent in 2023. This change was made necessary when given the fact that his fastball has been the only pitch of his that opposing batters had crushed at over .300 batting average against.

But the biggest difference, however, in Gray's arsenal has been his cutter. The veteran has completely revitalized this pitch and used it as a pitch to lean on. He threw the pitch just one time in all of 2022. So far this, it is his second most used pitch and is getting results in with both low batting average and slugging percentage against.

Sonny Gray has been spectacular in 2023, as he leads the league in ERA, ERA+, and FIP, while using a new and improved pitch repertoire. The former Cincinnati Reds hurler has the ability to make his third All-Star game, but also the chance to chase and secure his first-ever Cy Young Award.

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