The Oakland Athletics agreed to terms Monday with their first round pick, Vanderbilt right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray. The final numbers netted Gray a $1.54 million signing bonus and a guaranteed invite to 2012 spring training. The pitcher was in Oakland to complete the signing and spend some time with the big league club and players he hopes to eventually pitch with in the coming years.
If his initial assignment is any indication, Gray could be in Oakland fairly soon. The A's are sending Gray to their Double-A Midland club after a short tune-up in Arizona at the team's Papago facility. Gray helped pitch his Vanderbilt Commodores to the semifinals of the 2011 College World Series and has been resting his arm since then. He indicated he would be spending approximately ten days in Phoenix before heading to Midland.
In 19 starts for Vanderbilt this season, Gray was 12-4 with a 2.43 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 126 innings. The A's would seem ready to have him fast-tracked to the big leagues. Baseball America thought he had one of the best fastball-curveball combinations in the draft. Gray told Ray Fosse and Glen Kuiper that he throws a 92-95 mph fastball, but felt his curveball was his out pitch. He also throws a changeup and a cutter he started developing the second half of his last season with Vanderbilt.