Dodgers Prospect Josiah Gray Focused On Proving Value

While the Los Angeles Dodgers are five weeks into the 2021 regular season, Triple-A Oklahoma City begins their campaign Thursday with a road matchup against Round Rock Express, the Texas Rangers’ top affiliate.

Earlier in the week, top pitching prospect Josiah Gray was named the Opening Day starter, but Oklahoma City then removed him as the probable before again listing the right-hander as slated to take the mound hours before first pitch.

The time in between fueled speculation Gray could be joining the Dodgers for his MLB debut despite manager Dave Roberts recently indicating otherwise.

“We’re just not there yet. Obviously he’s our top prospect, we think very well of Josiah. We’re just not quite there yet,” Roberts said Sunday.

During OKC media day this week, Gray said he had not been told anything specific about being called up this season. “I’ve heard a lot of what everyone else has said: ‘Just kind of stay ready, go out and prove you can be an asset for us at the big league level.’ That’s what I’m aiming to do,” Gray said.

“I haven’t heard much about what I have to do. I just know that being a pitcher, you have to pitch well. That’s kind of what my mentality is. I’ll kind of let the cards fall how they may, depending on how this year goes. Kind of just staying healthy, going out there and giving it my all.”

Gray participated in Summer Camp last year and was part of the Dodgers’ player pool for the 2020 season, which gave him an opportunity to face Major League hitters. While that was of some benefit, the right-hander is understandably excited for a traditional Minor League season.

Roberts outlines focus for Gray

When asked Wednesday what the Gray needs to accomplish in order to earn a promotion to the Majors, Roberts highlighted more consistency throwing strikes and refining his arsenal.

“He’s come quick, very live arm, not a whole lot of mileage, great makeup, great body, great head, great work ethic. All that,” Roberts said. “We view him as a starter and it’s a plus-fastball with great characteristics. Just continue to work on the command.

“There’s a lot of arm-side miss, when he can clean that up. He’s got a really good changeup that he can throw to righties and lefties. And just continue to develop the breaking ball to strike it and shorten it.

“As a potential starter, you’ve got to have that three-pitch mix, in my opinion. There’s nothing Josiah hasn’t been able to dominate when he puts his mind to it, so that’s an easy bet.”

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