The Los Angeles Dodgers optioned Alex Vesia to Triple-A Oklahoma City and selected the contract of Gavin Stone from Triple-A Oklahoma City for his MLB debut against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday afternoon.
“This is something we’ve all been anticipating,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think I can speak for everyone in the clubhouse, we’re excited for Gavin. It’s going to be a fun day.”
Stone getting called up brings the Dodgers 40-man roster to 39 players. The right-hander joins Michael Busch as a notable Dodgers prospect to make his MLB debut this season. Last year that was achieved by Michael Grove, Ryan Pepiot, James Outman and Miguel Vargas.
Stone was selected in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft and quickly began to impress the organization before earning national attention with a breakout 2022 season.
He threw 121.2 innings across three levels of the Minors while posting a 1.48 ERA with 168 strikeouts and a 1.12 WHIP that year. Stone was non-roster invitee to big league camp for 2023 Spring Training, and he continued to fare well in Cactus League appearances.
“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 of the impression Stone made during 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 was dominant with OKC to finish the 2022 season but initially struggled in his return to Triple-A this year. He allowed six runs on five hits in just 2.2 innings pitched in his 2023 debut.
Stone followed that by allowing a combined seven runs in 22 innings over his past five starts. That stretch culminated with a season-high eight strikeouts and just one run allowed last Thursday.
Alex Vesia’s struggles
Vesia has been a key member of the Dodgers bullpen for multiple seasons, but is off to a shaky start this year.
He’s pitched to a 7.84 ERA, 3.46 FIP and 2.81 WHIP in 13 games thus far. He’s allowed 23 hits and issued six walks while collecting 15 strikeouts over 10.1 innings.
Vesia did just turn in consecutive scoreless appearances on April 30 and Tuesday night.
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