The Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to call up highly-touted pitching prospect Gavin Stone for his MLB debut this week. The move marks an unlikely rise from an unheralded starter from Central Arkansas, who will be called upon to steer the Dodgers rotation back on the right track after an odd first full month of 2023. Here’s a closer look at Stone.
A Look at Stone
Right-hander Gavin Stone skyrocketed up prospect rankings list after a dominant 2022 season. Across three levels, Stone struck out 168 batters over 121.2 IP, and capped off the incredible year with a 1.16 ERA over 23.1 innings in Oklahoma City (AAA).
Drafted out of the fifth round in the shortened 2020 MLB Draft, Stone played his college ball at Central Arkansas and caught the attention of scouts after a short, yet strong junior season. The righty didn’t have much of a resume as a starter at the collegiate level, as he only started 11 — four of which came in 2020 — games in his three-year college career. Fast forward three years later, and the Dodgers may have found a gem in a MLB Draft that also yielded Los Angeles flamethrowing right-hander Bobby Miller.
So, what makes Stone — one of our top fantasy rookie pitchers of 2023 — so good? Stone pairs a mid-90s fastball to go along with arguably one of the best changeups in the Minors that should be a very valuable pitch against left-handed hitters. To deal with right-handed bats, Stone also has a slider in his arsenal that should grade out to be at least an average to above-average pitch.
Per reports, Stone will make his first MLB start on May 3 against the defending NL champion Philadelphia Phillies.
A Look at the Dodgers Rotation
At the start of the 2023 season, it seemed a bit odd to think that the Dodgers rotation could be a weakness. Yet, it’s not hyperbole to state that the Los Angeles rotation has been problematic thus far. Tony Gonsolin missed the first month of the 2023, while the Dodgers have received inconsistent results from pending free agent Julio Urias. Ryan Pepiot started the 2023 season on the IL, and fellow rookie Michael Grove joined him after he posted a 8.44 ERA over his first four starts. And as for Noah Syndergaard, he owns a 6.32 ERA through 31.1 IP.
The Dodgers have received strong results from Dustin May and Clayton Kershaw, the latter of whom is arguably the favorite to win the NL Cy Young award after the first full month of 2023. Still, the Dodgers could use some help — and LA will look towards Stone to give the reigning NL West champions some relief.
Now, can Stone give it to the Dodgers? Stone does have the stuff to be a good starter at the MLB level, but we’ll see how sharp that changeup is right off the bat (no pun intended) against a tough Phillies team that includes Kyle Schwarber and possibly Bryce Harper, the latter of whom is rumored to come off the IL this week just five months after UCL reconstruction surgery.