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Josiah Gray headlines Triple-A Oklahoma City roster

Yaisel Sierra, and four Dodgers on 40-man roster also on preliminary OKC roster

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma City, the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate, opens play in the new Triple-A West, East Division — nee Pacific Coast League — on Thursday night at Round Rock. Josiah Gray is the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, and gets the call on opening day for OKC.

Baseball Prospectus, ESPN, and The Athletic tabbed Gray as the Dodgers’ top prospect heading into 2021, and he was second behind catcher Keibert Ruiz at Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. Gray and Ruiz were the only two Dodgers rated as consensus top-100 prospects by those national outlets.

“It would be hard to say [prospect rankings] don’t strike my interest from time to time, but I truly try not to pay any attention to it,” Gray said Tuesday. “Those things, I try not to get too caught up over. You can be number one in all of baseball, but if you’re not going out there every night and putting up the numbers and helping your team win, then that stuff doesn’t mean so much.”

Gray is not on the 40-man roster, and despite the current state of the Dodgers rotation with Dustin May out and Tony Gonsolin still a few weeks away from returning, the team doesn’t have any plans to promote the right-hander any time soon.

“We’re just not there yet,” Dave Roberts said on Sunday. “He’s our top prospect. We think very highly of him. We’re just not there yet.”

Gray only has pitched nine games, including eight starts, at Double-A, in 2019, but he also spent 2020 at the alternate training site, which throws a wrench into how to quantify these things. But for now, he’ll continue to develop on the farm, a luxury afforded a pitcher in his age-23 season.

After Gray in the OKC rotation is Yefry Ramírez, a 27-year old signed as a minor league free agent by the Dodgers on March 25. Oklahoma City manager Travis Barbary on Tuesday wouldn’t reveal the rest of the starting rotation, saying only that a few new pitchers were in the mix to provide enough pitching coverage, especially with the major league roster suffering attrition.

On the preliminary roster revealed by OKC on Wednesday are three veteran right-handed pitchers signed by the Dodgers in the last week: Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Kevin Quackenbush, and Aaron Wilkerson.

Mike Kickham is also listed on the preliminary roster for OKC. The left-hander was designated for assignment Sunday, and has the right to refuse an outright assignment to the minors if he clears waivers.

Another veteran signee since spring training ended was outfielder Steven Souza Jr., who signed with the Dodgers in April after opting out of his minor league deal with the Astros.

The Triple-A roster also includes Yaisel Sierra, who has battled various injuries since 2017, totaling only three professional innings in the last three seasons, which was at the Arizona rookie level. Sierra, who turns 30 in June, is in the final season of a six-year, $30 million contract that will pay him $7.5 million in 2021.

Sierra isn’t on the 40-man roster, but four players on OKC’s roster are: pitcher Edwin Uceta, and outfielders DJ Peters and Zach Reks, plus pitcher Phil Bickford, who was claimed off waivers from Milwaukee on Sunday.

Triple-A rosters this year are allowed to have 33 players, with 28 active for each day. This allows some maneuverability for the natural flux between the majors and minors, as well as the major league taxi squad utilizing some of these players on road trips.

The preliminary roster unveiled on Wednesday includes 30 players for now.

Triple-A Oklahoma City roster

Pos Player 2021 age* Acquired 40-man?
Pos Player 2021 age* Acquired 40-man?
RHP Austin Birbens-Dirkx 36 minor league FA (2021) No
RHP Phil Bickford 25 waiver claim (2021) No
RHP Edward Cuello 22 Int'l FA (2016) No
RHP Josiah Gray 23 trade (CIN), 2018 No
LHP Mike Kickham 32 minor league FA (2021) No
LHP Jordan Martinson 24 minor league FA (2019) No
RHP Ryan Moseley 26 trade (BAL), 2016 No
LHP Darien Nuñez 28 Int'l FA (2018) No
LHP James Pazos 30 minor league FA (2020) No
RHP Kevin Quackenbush 32 minor league FA (2021) No
RHP Yefry Ramirez 27 minor league FA (2021) No
LHP Logan Salow 26 trade (OAK), 2018 No
RHP Andrew Schwaab 28 minor league FA (2020) No
RHP Yaisel Sierra 29 free agent (2016) No
RHP Edwin Uceta 23 Int'l FA (2016) Yes
RHP Cyrillo Watson 23 2019 draft (23rd rd) No
RHP Aaron Wilkerson 31 minor league FA (2021) No
C Tim Federowicz 33 minor league FA (2020) No
C Hamlet Marte 27 minor league FA (2020) No
IF Carlos Asuaje 29 minor league FA (2020) No
IF Andy Burns 30 minor league FA (2020) No
1B/3B Matt Davidson 30 minor league FA (2021) No
IF Omar Estevez 23 Int'l FA (2015) No
IF Rangel Ravelo 29 minor league FA (2021) No
IF Cristian Santana 24 Int'l FA (2014) No
IF Elliot Soto 31 minor league FA (2021) No
OF Drew Avans 24 2018 draft (33rd rd) No
OF DJ Peters 25 2016 draft (4th rd) Yes
OF Zach Reks 27 2017 draft (10th rd) Yes
OF Steven Souza Jr. 32 minor league FA (2021) No
*age as of June 30, 2021