Looking to clear a logjam in their outfield, the Los Angeles Dodgers made headlines during the 2018 MLB offseason by trading Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to the Cincinnati Reds.
L.A. gained some payroll flexibility in the salary-motivated deal while bolstering its farm system with the additions of Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray.
Both players excelled in their debut seasons with the Dodgers organization last season, putting up big numbers and emerging into consensus top-100 prospects.
While Downs has since moved on to the Boston Red Sox as part of the return that netted Mookie Betts and David Price, expectations remain sky high for Gray heading into the 2020 season.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently praised Gray and did not rule out the possibility of him making his MLB debut this year, via Rowan Kavner of Dodger Insider:
Roberts said “there’s a lot to like” about prospect Josiah Gray, who could be with the big league club at some point in 2020: “It’s all contingent on how he performs, but I wouldn’t bet against it.”
In a combined 26 games (25 starts) between Low-A Great Lakes, High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa last season, Gray compiled an 11-2 record with a 2.70 ERA and 147 strikeouts against just 31 walks.
After earning a promotion to the Quakes, Gray went on to post a 7-0 record with a 2.14 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 12 California League starts. He continued to thrive at the Double-A level, pitching to a 2.75 ERA in nine games (eight starts) for the Drillers.
Gray was named Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year by the Dodgers at the end of his 2019 campaign — an honor presented annually to the organization’s most outstanding Minor League pitcher.
Another excellent showing in the Minors could pave the way for Gray’s MLB debut at some point during the 2020 season.
Among the pitchers who followed a similar path last season include Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Josh Sborz. Gonsolin and May are expected to receive looks for the fifth spot in the starting rotation this spring.
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