The Dodgers plan to call up pitcher Gavin Stone to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Phillies at Dodger Stadium, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reported on Saturday night. Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic confirmed the news.
Stone is coming off his best start of the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, striking out eight in five innings on Thursday, allowing a run on three hits and two walks.
On the season, Stone has been uneven with a 4.74 ERA in six starts, with a reduced strikeout rate (25.7 percent) and increased walk rate (11.4 percent). But he’s been much better over his last two starts, striking out 15 (a 39.5-percent rate) in 9⅔ innings, allowing one run.
Stone won the Branch Rickey Award last season as the Dodgers minor league pitcher of the year, after a dominant 1.48 ERA across three levels, with 168 strikeouts in 121⅔ innings. Entering the season, the right-hander was rated a consensus top-60 prospect in baseball, topping out at No. 39 by Keith Law at The Athletic.
As a non-roster invitee, Stone wowed in spring training, striking out 14 of 27 batters faced over 6⅔ scoreless innings. That included eight strikeouts in only three innings in a March 19 outing, during which assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness told Kirsten Watson in an in-game interview on SportsNet LA, “It’s hard not to talk about the changeup. You just look at the mound presence, this guy looks like a straight-up killer on the mound. It feels like he’s been pitching in the big leagues for a very long time.”
The Dodgers will need to add Stone to the 40-man roster when they call him up, but they currently have one open spot, and might have another open spot by Wednesday depending on how long the club decides to carry three catchers.
Having Stone come up was expected in one sense in that he’s the next in line on the depth chart. He was under consideration to start during the Pirates series before the club decided to cut short Tony Gonsolin’s minor league rehab to pitch 3⅓ innings on Wednesday.
But why Stone is coming up now will be interesting to find out in the coming days, like if another starting pitcher is hurt, for instance.
Assuming the rotation is healthy, and the Dodgers want remain in line, Wednesday would be Dustin May’s turn in the order, but he’s coming off a career-high 104 pitches in five innings against St. Louis on Friday, and he’d be on four days rest on Wednesday. Bumping him would get May two extra days and line him up to start during next weekend’s showdown series against the Padres.
Whether Stone’s call up will be a one-start deal — to reset the rotation at the end of a stretch of 19 games in 20 days — or for longer, just getting the call-up is big news for one of the best pitching prospects in the sport.