Between injuries to Ryan Pepiot, Tony Gonsolin and Michael Grove, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been doing their best to cobble together a starting rotation early in the 2023 MLB season. And now they’ve called upon arguably their biggest reinforcement: Righty Gavin Stone, the team’s No. 4 prospect and No. 49 overall according to MLB Pipeline, will reportedly get the call up to the Show for his MLB debut this week.
#Dodgers are calling up No. 4 prospect Gavin Stone, per source. He’ll be flying to Los Angeles and the plan is for him to start Wednesday against the Phillies.— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) April 30, 2023
Stone impressed everyone this spring and has pitched much better his last two starts in AAA after a slow start.
Stone is set to take on the Philadelphia Phillies on the road in his first career start. A former fifth-round pick back in the 2020 MLB Draft, Stone’s arrival in L.A. has been hotly anticipated for years now. But how might he fare now that the day has actually arrived, and what does it mean for your fantasy baseball team?
Gavin Stone fantasy impact
The fifth round is not usually where top prospects come from, but — as has become the norm for Dodgers pitchers in recent years — Stone’s stuff jumped almost immediately after he was drafted, with his fastball velocity climbing into the mid-90s and his changeup developing into quite possibly the best in the Minors. That change is the party piece, as it looks like a fastball coming out of his hand before tumbling off the table and into oblivion:
Gavin Stone's 8Ks in 3 innings.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 20, 2023
That changeup is gonna be a problem. pic.twitter.com/AlfrjBgh0O
Stone also boasts a good-enough slider that he uses to keep righties honest, and with an arsenal like that it’s no surprise that he’s made quick work of the Minors — the 24-year-old rocketed from High-A all the way to Triple-A in 2022, with a 1.48 combined ERA and 168 strikeouts in 121.2 innings.
There are a few concerns worth mentioning. Primarily a reliever in college at Central Arkansas, last season was also the only time Stone has ever thrown more than 100 innings at any level. He’s not the most physical guy at 6’1, 175 pounds, and it remains to be seen how he’ll hold up over the long haul.
Which brings us to concern No. 2: Stone has only shown this type of dominance for about a year, and there’s always a chance that he gives back some of his velocity gains or that hitters figure him out. The righty got off to a bumpy start at Triple-A this season, with a 7.20 ERA and eight walks in his first 15 innings of work — and a fastball that sat more 92-93 than 95-96. He’s bounced back since then, with 15 Ks and one earned run over his last two outings, but the point remains that we just don’t have very much of a track record to go on here.
Still, Stone offers a genuine, Major League-caliber out pitch to go with two other quality offerings, and the Dodgers have more than earned the benefit of the doubt in their pitcher development — just ask Tony Gonsolin or Dustin May or Julio Urias or ... well, you get the point. Stone is worth an add in all fantasy leagues, with real SP2/3 potential if all clicks. Just prepare for some bumps along the way.