Oklahoma baseball: Checking in on Sooners active in MLB

Baseball are seen during Detroit Tigers spring training Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023 in Lakeland, Fla.Tigers7 021923 Kd1396 baseballs, major league baseball logo
Baseball are seen during Detroit Tigers spring training Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023 in Lakeland, Fla.Tigers7 021923 Kd1396 baseballs, major league baseball logo /

With Major League Baseball at its midseason break, it seemed a fitting time to check in on former Oklahoma baseball players who are active major leaguers this season.

Nine former Sooners played at the major league level just two seasons ago, but that number is down to three in 2023. All of the Oklahoma players who have seen MLB action this season are pitchers.

The three are Jon Gray with the Texas Rangers, Chase Anderson with the Colorado Rockies and Steven Okert, who is currently on the roster of the Miami Marlins.

The 2023 MLB First-Year Player Draft was held on Sunday through Tuesday this week during the All-Star Game break, and Oklahoma extended its streak of having at least one player drafted every year since 1970. OU junior shortstop Dakota Harris was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 11th round (335th player overall) of this year’s draft.

A total of 296 from the University of Oklahoma have been selected in the MLB Draft since it was first introduced in 1965, including 21 in the first round.

RHP Jon Gray

Gray is in his ninth major league season and second with the Texas Rangers. He was drafted in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft (third overall) by the Colorado Rockies but did not reach the big leagues with the Rockies until the 2015 season. He spent seven seasons with Colorado, compiling an overall record of 53-49 in 151 starts and an ERA of 4.59.

The former Sooner, who went by Jonathan when he played at OU (2012-13), signed with the Rangers after the 2021 season. Gray is 13-12 with an ERA of 3.68 with Texas. He is 6-5 with a 3.29 in 16 starts this season.

Gray, who is from Chandler, Oklahoma, originally, was drafted two other times before Colorado selected him in 2013. He was drafted in the 13th round by the Kansas City Royals in 2010 and in the 10th round of the 2011 Draft by the New York Yankees, but both times elected to return to college.

In 35 starts over two seasons at Oklahoma. the former Sooner ace was 18-7 with a 2.32 ERA. He was named a First-Team All-American his senior year by Baseball America.

RHP Chase Anderson

Anderson has the longest MLB tenure of the three Sooners who are still active a professional baseball’s highest level. This is his 10th year in the league. He is 0-4 this season for Miami in 10 starts with an ERA of 7.66, the highest of his career. Anderson played at Oklahoma in 2008-09.

He was drafted in the ninth round in 2009 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his 10-year MLB career he has played for the Diamondbacks (two seasons), four years with the Milwaukee Brewers and one each with the Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays and this year with Colorado.

Anderson’s career numbers are 58-54 in 211 games, 193 as a starter, and a 4.38 ERA.

LHP Steven Okert

Okert played just one season at Oklahoma (2012). He was selected in the fourth round (148th overall) of the 2012 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants. He was the first of five OU players taken in that year’s draft. Okert was drafted twice, in 2010 and 2011, both times by the Milwaukee Brewers, before being taken by the Giants in 2012. The Brewers selected him in the 43rd round in 2010 and the 33rd round in 2011.

He made his major league debut with San Francisco in 2016 and remained with the Giants through the 2018 season. In 70 games with the Giants, Okert had a 1-1 overall record and a 4.28 ERA, used mostly as a reliever. He signed a minor league contract with the Miami Marlins in 2021.

In 32 innings this season in Miami, the left-handed relief pitcher is 3-0 with a 2.53 ERA, In three seasons with the Marlins, Okert is 11-6 with a 2.79 ERA.