Top Dodgers pitching prospect Josiah Gray made his major league debut in Tuesday’s 8-6 comeback win against the Giants. Gray wasn’t perfect, but he did brandish the talent that’s made him a top 50 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
The 23-year-old righty gave up three home runs but did strike out seven batters in four innings of work.
Save that ball.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 21, 2021
Gray, more commonly known as “Jojo”, explained the origin of his nickname on Wednesday.
“I was a kid. Playing in the backyard. My dad would always call down from his room window and he would always say ‘Juju’, like Juju Smith-Schuster. I would always giggle and run away. Just growing up, it evolved from Juju to Jojo and little do you know, here I am, years later, still going by Jojo. It’s something that happened in the backyard and it’s stuck with me to this day.”
According to Dave Roberts, Jojo will start Sunday’s game at home against the Colorado Rockies. It’s a great opportunity for the former collegiate shortstop to continue to prove that he belongs.
Gray has performed at a high level in the minors. In 42 minor league games, Gray owns a 2.41 ERA and 0.934 WHIP in 198 IP. He also recorded 228 strikeouts – good for a K/9 of 10.4.
The Dodgers should be aggressively shopping for more starting pitching at the trade deadline, but until a deal, or two, is struck, Gray should continue to get opportunities.
The maturity Gray displayed during the press conference should go a long way in putting Tuesday’s uneven performance behind him.
One day, Josiah Gray could become a household name in the MLB.
But you can just call him Jojo for short.