Did the Reds trade Sonny Gray too soon?

Minnesota Twins pitcher Sonny Gray
Minnesota Twins pitcher Sonny Gray / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

Sonny Gray has undoubtedly, at least for the moment, proven the Cincinnati Reds wrong in trading him along with minor leaguer Francis Peguero to the Minnesota Twins for right-handed prospect Chase Petty.

Gray seemed like his usual self last year, posting middle-of-the-road stats in his first year as a Twin. Gray has an 8-5 record with an ERA of 3.08, in 24 games.

This year however, Gray has put forth a 0.77 ERA through his first six outings of the 2023 campaign. Gray is coming out of the gates hot, making himself an early Cy Young candidate.

Former Reds RHP Sonny Gray has been lights out for the Twins in 2023.

Sonny Gray's pitching usage and Minnesota Twins pitching coach Pete Maki have been the two biggest differences for the right-hander this season. According to data provided by MLB Network, Sonny Gray has changed up his pitch frequency.

Last year Gray threw his fastball 54.2-percent of the time, his curveball 24.7-percent of the time, used his slider in over 11-percent of his starts, while his cutter and changeup were used in about 10-percent of his outings.

Predominantly a fastball pitcher in the past, that is no longer the case. Gray is now barely throwing his fastball over 30.2-percent of the time, his curveball usage (25-percent) has remained about the same, but his slider (15.9-percent), cutter (20.8-percent), and his change-up (7.7-percent) has all seen an increase in usage. It's a no brainer as to why Gray is torching the opposition this season.

The Cincinnati Reds on the other hand have been left in the dust. Through their first 31 games, the Reds are 13-18, which is good enough for fourth-place in the NL Central. Outside of Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, and Alexis Diaz, the club is in need of some serious pitching help.

Chase Petty, whom the Reds received in return for Sonny Gray, is listed as the team's No. 7 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Petty has yet to pitch this year as he is on the seven-day Injured List due to an elbow injury.

Petty last pitched in 2022 posting a 1-6 record in 25 games(20 started), 98.1 innings pitched and racking up 96 strikeouts. Petty seemed to get better as the year went on, starting 2022 with the Reds Low-A affiliate and earning his call up to High-A on July 28th, 2022.

While it is still way too early to evaluate this trade as a whole, Sonny Gray and the Minnesota Twins have received the better part of the deal so far.

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