The Dodgers have always been a pitching factory. Throughout the storied history of the franchise, it’s the pitchers who stand out. There are the Hall of Famers like Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Don Sutton, and Clayton Kershaw, but there are also great pitchers like Don Newcombe, Johnny Podres, Carl Erskine, Tommy John, Burt Hooton, Jerry Reuss, Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela, Bob Welch, Ramon Martinez, Chan Ho Park, Hideo Nomo, and more.
The factory is still hard at work, with L.A.’s player development system continuing to churn out excellent pitchers. International signee Julio Urias led the National League in ERA in 2022. Former ninth-round draft pick Tony Gonsolin was a Cy Young contender before an injury shortened his season, and former third-rounder Dustin May has all the makings of an ace.
Up next might be a former fifth-round draft pick, Gavin Stone. Stone pitched at three levels of the minors last year, posting a 1.44 ERA for High-A Great Lakes, a 1.60 ERA for Double-A Tulsa, and a 1.16 ERA for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Add it all up, and Stone had a 1.48 ERA with 168 strikeouts and just 44 walks in 121.2 minor-league innings last season.
Stone just turned 24, having spent three years at Central Arkansas before Los Angeles took him in the fifth round of the 2020 draft. He seems ready to contribute at the big-league level, and Dodgers beat writer Juan Toribio agrees, as he told Dodgers Nation at the Winter Meetings last week.
“If I had to pick a guy it would be Gavin Stone. I think Gavin Stone’s going to be a stud. I mean, I think he’s the guy of the prospects that they’re depending on probably more than anybody else. I think he, he shoved everywhere he pitched last year. I mean Triple-A, it was like, there was no match for him.
“They got to know him a little bit more during October and they’ve worked with him a little bit closer over the last year. But his rise has been unbelievable. And I think production speaks for itself. I mean he shoved in High-A, shoved in Double-A, shoved in Triple-A. If he does that again, he has a hot start in Triple-A, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pretty soon in the big leagues.”
L.A. manager Dave Roberts seems to agree, too:
“A guy that’s really interesting that we’re going to be talking a lot about going forward is Gavin Stone. Got a chance to see him a little bit before the postseason and talked to him, and he’s a special young talent, makeup.”
Stone is definitely on the radar, and we could be seeing him at Dodger Stadium sooner than later in 2023.
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