Tennessee’s top high school prospect Sonny Gray is wearing a boot and on crutches. The righthander and Vanderbilt recruit suffered an avulsion fracture and a third degree sprain to his right ankle running out a ground ball during a game on April 16.
"I hit a ground ball to second base and was running to beat out the throw," Gray said. "The pitcher came over to cover first, and I stepped on his foot and the bag at the same time."
Gray is going back to see the doctor on April 29, but odds are he will not be healed in time to pitch again this season as the Tennessee district tournaments start at the end of next week on May 2. While Gray’s high school career may be finished, his pitching career certainly is not, and focus is now shifted to the draft.
"I’m normally a fast healer," Gray said. "Hopefully, I’ll be well so I can throw a little before (the draft)."
Although he’s only 5-foot-10, Gray is currently the No. 23 draft prospect. Due to his size, max effort delivery and superb two pitch mix of a mid-90s fastball and arguably the country’s best curveball, the question of whether Gray will be a starter or a closer in the pros is often debated—as is the question of durability. Now that he will not be able to pitch down the stretch of the season because of an injury, Gray’s draft stock may begin to slide.
Gray was a preseason All-American and was pitching up to that accolade before the injury. In six starts, Gray was 5-0 with an ERA below 1.00. He also had 84 strikeouts on the season, averaging 14 a game.
An avulsion fracture occurs when a tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of bone. This type of injury is typically do not need surgery, as is the case with Gray.