What could Gavin Stone’s role be this year?

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports
Dodgers fans have taken notice of Stone's impressive spring.

Clips of his filthy movement have put Gavin Stone on the radar of many this spring.

He’s appeared in three games, going 3 2/3 scoreless innings and impressively tallying six strikeouts.

After a breakout season in the minors last year, Stone is expected to make his MLB debut at some point in 2023. Many factors will determine how much time he spends in the majors as well as what role he will have.

To begin 2022, Stone was ranked as the No. 18 prospect in the Dodgers’ system. He began the season in High-A Great Lakes and dominated through six starts before he got bumped up to Double-A Tulsa. That is where he spent most of the year, pitching in 14 games (13 starts) with a 1.60 ERA.

That performance was enough for Stone to get an August promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City, accomplishing the rare feat of rising three levels in one year. Stone was even better in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He made six starts there before the season’s end, posting a 1.16 ERA and 4.13 K/BB rate.

Overall, Stone’s 1.48 ERA led the entire minor leagues in 2022. Stone now holds the No. 56 spot on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects list and the No. 5 spot in the Dodgers’ system. Some insiders rank him even higher than that.

At 24 years old and coming off of an outstanding year, Stone has proven he’s ready for the majors. He would probably make the Opening Day rotation in many other organizations. However, it may not be until mid-season when he debuts for Los Angeles due to the talented assortment of arms the Dodgers already have at the major league level.

Stone may not make it up to the majors until there is a spot to be filled, likely meaning an injury would have to happen during the year. A spot is open temporarily while Tony Gonsolin recovers from an ankle injury, but it won’t be open long and either Ryan Pepiot or Michael Grove are expected to fill in for now.

The Dodgers sent nine players, including Bobby Miller, to minor league camp on Monday. However, Stone was not among them and will remain in major league camp. This could indicate that Dave Roberts wants to see Stone continue performing amongst big leaguers as a trial for an earlier promotion this year. It may also hint that Stone will debut before Miller, although both are expected to pitch in the majors this season.

Final thoughts

Stone is a player that Dodgers fans should be extremely excited about. Upon his debut, his split-changeup will immediately be among the best off-speed pitches on the Dodgers. Stone is a great prospect who also features a relatively high floor. He is projected to be a quality starter in Los Angeles for a good chunk of time, possibly beginning this season.

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