The Rockies drafted Jon Gray third overall in 2013 out of the University of Oklahoma with the hope that he could one day become a front-of-the-rotation starter – one like Washington’s Max Scherzer, for example.

While Rockies manager Bud Black isn’t yet ready to anoint Gray an ‘ace,’ and rightfully so, the 25-year-old right-hander has shown through his first 50 Major League starts that he’s on the path to becoming one in the mold of Scherzer.

In fact, their first 50 starts bear some striking parallels.

Before diving into those numbers, though, let’s just take a look at the proverbial ‘tale of the tape.’

At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Gray is an imposing figure on the mound. Scherzer doesn’t carry quite the same weight as Gray at 210 pounds, but is only an inch shorter at 6-foot-3. Gray is more ‘arms and legs’ than Scherzer, but both sport a 3/4 delivery and can come over the top to change a hitter’s look.

Gray and Scherzer possess a similar pitch repertoire, relying primarily on a mid-90s fastball and a hard slider. Gray uses a curveball as a third pitch, and is working on a changeup. Scherzer currently throws both a curve and change, however he did not add the curve until his fourth season in the majors.

By the time each reached his 50th start, both were throwing four-seam fastballs approximately 65 percent of the time, sliders just under 20 percent and complementary pitches for the balance.

The eye test shows many similarities between Gray and the young Scherzer, and so do the numbers.

Here’s a look at each of their topline stats through 50 starts:

Max Scherzer

13-21 280.1 284 164 138 104 289 35 1.386 4.50

Jon Gray

15-14 271.1 278 152 144 93 285 29 1.369 4.78

To a certain extent you have to throw out win-loss record, as it’s a team stat and dependent upon so many external factors. However, an interesting point of note is that both Scherzer and Gray each needed exactly 14 starts before picking up their first win. At the time of Gray’s first MLB win his record was 1-3 with 10 no decisions. Scherzer was 1-7 with six no decisions when he picked up his first victory.

The difference in innings pitched (Scherzer’s 280.1 to Gray’s 271.1) over 50 games amounts to just under one out per game more in Scherzer’s favor.

Gray has allowed fewer hits and runs, but more earned runs; however, the numbers are remarkably similar.

Scherzer’s 1.386 WHIP through his first 50 starts is actually a tick higher than Gray’s 1.369.

Gray is averaging 9.46 strikeouts per nine as he enters start No. 51 on Tuesday. Scherzer was a shade below that number at the same time, coming in at 9.29. Walks per nine favor Gray as well, 3.09 to 3.34.

Scherzer and Gray each reached the 50 start mark at roughly the same point in their careers – midway through their second full season in the big leagues. Scherzer finished that  second full season at 12-11 with the Tigers sporting a 3.50 ERA. Gray would have to work some real magic down the stretch to drop his ERA (currently 4.54) a full point.

After seeing his ERA climb to 6.23 with a rough start against the Mets on July 14 (2.0 IP, 8 ER), Gray has slowly and steadily worked that number down to a near career low. If he maintains his current trajectory, he’ll finish 2017 well below last year’s mark of 4.61.

Scherzer’s ERA took a big leap in year three (his second in Detroit), ending the season at 4.43, but went 15-9 to help the Tigers win the AL Central. Since that season, 2011, Scherzer has won at least 15 games every season except 2015 with Washington. He’s at 12 already in 2017, putting him on pace to hit that number again.

The Rockies see Scherzer-type potential in Gray, and the numbers mostly back up that vision.

If he can remain healthy and continue his upward trajectory throughout the remainder of 2017, there’s no reason to believe Gray can’t be a perennial 15-game winner for Colorado.

Gray makes career start No. 51 on Tuesday in Kansas City. In his 51st career start, Scherzer pitched 5.2 scoreless innings and took a no-decision in a loss to the Braves.