The Dodgers are going to need all the help they can get in the rotation over the next few weeks. Between Clayton Kershaw’s forearm injury and Trevor Bauer’s administrative leave, they are short two starters. Veteran David Price is now the fourth starter, but that still leaves them at least 1 starter short.
While there is a chance they go to the trade market to fill that final spot, there is no indication that it will happen this week. So the Dodgers will need to make a decision in the next few days on who starts in the middle of the week.
As it turns out, Dodgers prospect Josiah Gray might be getting his first major league start sooner rather than later. Manager Dave Roberts noted that Gray is a candidate for a fill-in start next week for the injured Kershaw.
We’re speaking internally about someone internally coming up.
Roberts noted that Gray is certainly on the table in the discussions. But he also battled through a shoulder impingement earlier in the year and has been building up since then. In his last AAA start, Gray struck out seven while giving up 3 earned runs in 4.2 IP.
The 23-year-old was the Dodgers 2019 Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. Gray posted a 2.28 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP in 130 innings pitched. What might have been the most impressive part was giving up just 3 home runs in 25 games.
Gray is currently the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect and the MLB Pipeline rankings slot him at number 42 overall. A former high school shortstop, Gray’s fastball and slider headline the scouting report. While his curveball and changeup remain under development, many feel his slider and fastball could be major league ready.
Regular bullpen games are far from ideal considering the bevy of unproven arms currently in the Dodger bullpen. Gray likely won’t be pumping in 100 pitches if he starts, but it’s still better than an opener situation. Hopefully, the Dodgers can use this opportunity as a litmus test for their top minor league arm while also preserving their bullpen.
Next week could provide a first glimpse of another great young Dodgers arm.