Josiah Gray

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Josiah Gray
(Jo Jo)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Josiah Gray was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2nd round of the 2018 amateur draft, out of LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY, not a traditional baseball powerhouse. He had been an infielder in high school, and only an occasional pitcher throwing in the mid-80s, something that did not attract much interest from college recruiters, explaining how he ended up in a small NCAA Division II school. However, after being used more often as a pitcher at LeMoyne, he increased his fastball velocity to 94, became the ace of its pitching staff and led the team to the 2018 Division II Regionals for the East Region, establishing himself as a draft prospect in the process.

He made his professional debut that season with the Greeneville Reds of the Appalachian League, going 2-2, 2.58 in 12 games, all starts. He allowed just 29 hits in 52 1/3 innings, while striking out 59, very good numbers albeit at a low level. Still, he was clearly a top prospect, and on December 21, 2018, he was packaged alongside another similarly promising very young player, IF Jeter Downs, as well as the remaining contract of P Homer Bailey (who was immediately released), and sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for four major leaguers: OFs Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, P Alex Wood and C-3B Kyle Farmer. The deal was designed to clear roster and salary space for the Dodgers to proceed with the signing of a top-rank free agent, rumored to be OF Bryce Harper.

In the end, Harper's signing did not happen, but Josiah played for three different teams in the Dodgers' system in 2019 - the Great Lakes Loons, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and Tulsa Drillers, rising all the way to AA. Combined, he went 11-2, 2.28 in 26 games (25 starts) and struck out 147 batters in 130 innings. He was named the Dodgers' Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He could very well have reached the majors in 2020, but the Coronavirus pandemic upended his plans as he spent the year at the Dodgers' alternate training site with the minor leagues shut down. He resumed his playing career in 2021 with the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers. Over the first half of the season, he went he went 1-1, 2.81 in 4 games, after spending a full month on the injured list. On July 20th, he was called up to make his major league debut, pitching 4 innings in relief of Darien Nunez and allowing 4 runs to the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers were trailing, 6-2, when he left the game, but came back to win it, 8-6. He then made a start against the Colorado Rockies on July 25th, allowing 2 runs in 4 innings. It turned out to be his final game for the Dodgers as on July 30th, he was traded to the Washington Nationals as part of a blockbuster deal that landed the Dodgers two All-Stars, P Max Scherzer and SS Trea Turner, while he was joined by Keibert Ruiz, Gerardo Carrillo and Donovan Casey in going the other way. Following the trade, he made 12 starts for Washington, going 2-2, 5.31, to finish with an ERA of 5.48 in 14 games.

In 2022, Gray was a regular member of the Nats' starting rotation, making 28 starts and pitching 148 2/3 innings, both figured being second on the last-place team behind veteran Patrick Corbin. He led the National League in two negative categories: bases on balls allowed with 66 and home runs allowed with 38 and finished at 7-10, 5.02, in what was a learning year. His most impressive stat were his 154 strikeouts. He was pitching much better at the start of the 2023 season, with an ERA of 2.77 after 11 starts.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL All-Star (2023)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Bill Shaikin (Los Angeles Times): "Former Dodgers prospect Josiah Gray finds a 'good place' with Nationals", Yahoo! Sports, May 29, 2023. [1]

Related Sites[edit]