DENVER -- Manager Walt Weiss has preached how important it is for the Rockies to teach their young pitchers to command the bottom of the zone early in their development processes before they get to Coors Field. He even admitted that in the effort to master the art of the groundball, Rockies pitching prospects must concede that a strikeout always isn't the best plan of attack.
But on Wednesday, Weiss revealed that right-hander Jon Gray is the exception to this tradeoff.
"We look at him as a power guy that's going to strike guys out," Weiss said. "I'm all good with that. When you're missing the bat, it's a good thing … We don't want to reinvent the wheel with him."
Gray, the Rockies No. 1-ranked prospect, has had an up-and-down season at the Double-A level this season, logging 3.0 strikeouts for every walk after registering a 6.38 ratio in his first year in the Minors.
Stats like such have led to some speculation that the team's organizational philosophies of pitching to the lower third of zone have hindered his development. But Weiss' words suggest otherwise, and according to the Rockies' skipper, he's passing the eye test.
"He commands the ball very well, especially for a young power pitcher," Weiss said. "When we talk about being able to get ground balls, it's about the ability and timing of being able to get it when you need it. That's a critical factor of guys who pitch here, but he's going to strike guys out and he's going to elevate some balls to get swings and misses and there's nothing wrong with that."
With the Rockies out of contention, Gray's debut watch has been in full effect. Yet a quick look at his three most recent starts suggests he needs more time.
Before limiting the Northwest Arkansas Naturals to just two hits and one run through seven innings his last time out, Gray had surrendered 13 hits and nine runs over his previous two outings (11 innings).
For that reason, Weiss is no closer to proclaiming when MLB.com's 14th ranked prospect will get the call to the Majors.
"I imagine he'll be here at some point," Weiss said. "I don't know whether it's this year or next year. I can't say when that might be."
Cody Ulm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.