Dave Roberts: Young Dodgers Pitchers Need To ‘Take The Next Step’

After an offseason filled with roster turnover, the Los Angeles Dodgers are relying on several young players and prospects to take on larger roles this year.

Gavin Lux was originally on track to be the team’s starting shortstop, but he sustained a torn ACL and LCL in his right knee that is going to keep him out for the entirety of the 2023 season. Meanwhile, Miguel Vargas has taken on the everyday role at second base and James Outman is a prominent part in the outfield.

As for the Dodgers pitching staff, their starting rotation is expected to feature the likes of Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May once healthy. Michael Grove, Landon Knack, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Gavin Stone also could receive opportunities at some point as well.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said it is imperative that the team’s younger starting pitchers take a step forward this season, per Juan Toribio of MLB.com:

“It’s going to be important,” Roberts said of the Dodgers’ young pitchers continuing to develop. “They have to take the next step because we expect more from them this year than we did last year.”

With Walker Buehler expected to miss most — if not all — of the 2023 season, and other pitchers with injury histories of their own, the Dodgers’ starting pitching depth will be crucial to their success.

That already has been tested with Gonsolin (ankle) and Pepiot (oblique) beginning the season on the 15-day injured list. Meanwhile, Grove had to pitch under the weather in his 2023 debut.

While Gonsolin and Pepiot should make respective recoveries in the weeks ahead, Miller figures to be further down the line as he goes through a slower buildup process at extended Spring Training.

Dodgers continue to wait on Gonsolin & Pepiot

The Dodgers initially believed Gonsolin would return from a sprained left ankle at the end of April, but his current progress doesn’t have him on track to be activated until some time in May.

Meanwhile, Pepiot still has not resumed throwing since experiencing discomfort in his oblique. Pepiot thought he would only need a couple days before starting that process, but it is now going on two weeks.

Are you following Dodger Blue on Instagram? It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!