Dodgers Prospect Gavin Stone Impressed With ‘Bulldog’ Mentality

The long line of prominent Los Angeles Dodgers prospects getting to make their MLB debut has landed on Gavin Stone. After reports indicated he would be called up, manager Dave Roberts finally confirmed the news after Tuesday’s win.

Stone is set to toe the rubber in the series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies facing their ace, Aaron Nola. He joined the Dodgers on Tuesday as part of the taxi squad.

“Obviously we’ve seen what he can do on the Minor League side,” Roberts said before the Dodgers’ decision was made official. “To get him here in this environment during the season is beneficial. Ultimately, if we decide to pull on that lever, it’s going to be fun for all of us.”

The right-hander, who was a somewhat unheralded prospect when he was selected in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft, quickly began to impress the organization, and he finally caught national attention with a breakout 2022 season.

Stone pitched 121.2 innings across three levels of the Minors while posting a 1.48 ERA with 168 strikeouts and a 1.12 WHIP that season. The 24-year-old was a non-roster invitee to big league camp for 2023 Spring Training, and he continued to fare well in Cactus League play.

“Outside of looking at the baby face, I guess the boyish look, he looked like he had been around a lot longer the way he carried himself,” Roberts said about the impression Stone left in Spring Training. “There’s a confidence, there’s a curiosity, there’s an openness.

“And also when he’s on the mound, there’s a bulldog in him. The skillset, I didn’t appreciate how good the command of his fastball was. Obviously he’s got a plus-changeup and he can spin the baseball. All those components, I was really impressed by.”

Stone utilizes a fastball, slider and changeup, which all grade out as above-average pitches, and he has plus-command to go with them. The changeup is his carrying pitch, which is ranked as an elite 70 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale by MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs.

“Even when guys know it’s coming, it’s hard to square up,” Roberts said of Stone’s changeup. “He can throw it at any point in time with a lot of confidence. To be able to keep guys at bay, keep them honest with his fastball that’s in the mid-90s and commanded, pretty impressive for a young ball player.”

Stone is currently ranked the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline and 48th overall in the league. FanGraphs has him ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 6 prospect and 60th in baseball.

Why are the Dodgers calling up Gavin Stone?

Roberts has continued to insist all five Dodgers starters are healthy, and with an off day on Thursday, there wasn’t necessarily a need for another starting pitcher at this time.

However, the team does want to be mindful of the workloads of their starting pitchers, including Dustin May. “Not injury, but just managing workload. That’s fair,” Roberts said.

The move could also help them line up their preferred rotation for their upcoming series against the San Diego Padres, with the order still to be determined outside of the series opener.

“I think Clayton is going to be on Friday, and that’s as far as I want to put it,” Roberts said pregame on Tuesday. “Just kind of looking at each individual starter and what’s best for him, there’s some things that we’ve dug into.

“I think we’ll learn more later, which guy that we feel we need to give a little extra attention to, which is sort of the impetus of this potential move.”

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