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Dodgers Notes: Can An Improving Gavin Stone Help LA This Year?

It’s been quite the up and down year for Gavin Stone.

Stone came into 2023 looking to build on a previous season where he established himself as one of the Dodgers’ top pitching prospects, and he largely did that with quality performances for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.

And as injuries began to befell the big league club’s rotation, Stone suddenly found himself thrust into emergency action.

Stone came up to the Dodgers known as a right-hander that would throw primarily a four-seam fastball and a changeup, and he made his name in the minor league system with the latter.

Unfortunately for Stone, his time in the big leagues didn’t go according to plan.

The main reason for that was because he couldn’t command that fading changeup, and didn’t have a viable alternative if that betrayed him. He had an 11.3 percent walk rate and a concerning six walks per nine innings ratio, and those difficulties led to Stone being sent down to Oklahoma City in early July.

Since then though he’s improved markedly, notably due to an increased usage of a cutter. He’s been commanding that well over the last month, and that led to an outstanding performance in his last start.

This begs the question: If Stone continues this, can he help the Los Angeles Dodgers down the stretch?

There’s one factor in that question that makes it a little harder.

Former Dodgers’ No. 1 pitching prospect Ryan Pepiot was recently activated from the 60-day injured list.

Pepiot was off to a great start in spring training and looked on track to grab one of the Dodgers spots in the starting rotation ahead of opening day before an oblique injury stunted his season before it truly began.

He’s currently in Triple-A with the OKC Dodgers, but looks to be back on track after going four innings and giving up only one run on three hits with four strikeouts.

For a start that was still abbreviated given his previous injury, Pepiot looks strong and is on a path where he could be pitching big innings for Los Angeles next month.

For now, Pepiot should be getting a shot at MLB again before Stone, and the former may be a big factor this season.

Pepiot pitching significant innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers has been a long time coming for the 25-year-old, but that time may just be coming soon.

Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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Matt Wagner

Matt Wagner was born and raised in southern California, and he lived there before moving to Colorado and getting his B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2022. He relocated back to southern California in 2023 and is looking forward to covering the Dodgers again here at Dodgers Nation. Some of his past work is in Bleacher Report, Dodgers Tailgate, and, most recently, Colorado Buffaloes Wire. Aside from writing, you can probably catch him petting the nearest dog or eating some good Mexican food.

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