First Stone, now Miller: Dodgers displaying pitching future

With No. 4 prospect getting extended look, No. 2 prospect to make MLB debut Tuesday

May 22nd, 2023

ATLANTA -- The Dodgers were set to get another good look at , the No. 4 prospect in the organization per MLB Pipeline, beginning with his start against the Braves on Monday night at Truist Park.

On Tuesday, they’ll put their eyes on another piece of their future as manager Dave Roberts confirmed that right-hander Bobby Miller will start against the Braves and make his Major League debut. Miller is the Dodgers’ top-ranked pitching prospect, per Pipeline.

“He's got a ton of family, friends coming,” Roberts said of Miller. “It's big stuff. I think that we've all been looking forward to him making his Dodgers, Major League debut. He's excited. It's actually sort of fun that you get these two guys going back to back, making starts against a club like this."

Giving Miller an opportunity at this point of the season wasn’t part of the plan for the Dodgers. Miller was sidelined all spring because of a right shoulder injury. He has only made four starts at Triple-A Oklahoma City since his return.

But with and both on the injured list, the Dodgers don’t have many options in the Minors. is sidelined until at least June, and just started a rehab assignment with Oklahoma City. That leaves Miller and Stone as the clear replacements for May and Urías. It’s a little earlier than expected, but the time is now for the two young right-handers.

“I think the makeup is one thing,” Roberts said of Miller. “Obviously the physicality, the stuff and he’s pitched well recently. I think that those kinds of things, we just felt that the time is now, given all the circumstances. You can try to put together a soft landing, but I think that this is the right time for Bobby. It’s a great opportunity, and I’m excited.”

Roberts admitted that Stone will get a runway of a few starts in the rotation in May’s spot. May is expected to be sidelined at least one month, but a few months is the far more likely outcome given May’s injury history.

Stone made his Major League debut in a no-decision May 3 against the Phillies. He went four innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits with two walks and a strikeout.

“I think the unfamiliarity, the novelty of it, I think that we've already done that,” Roberts said. “And I think he's thrown the baseball better in general. The changeup is better, the fastball command is better. So, I just think that that second time around, I think that he'll be a lot more comfortable than he was the first time.”

As for Miller, Roberts fell short of saying the right-hander will be part of the rotation moving forward, but he did add that he “would assume” he stays in the Majors until Urías is ready to return.

Urías will be sidelined until at least June 2 against the Yankees, and that return date is in question. The left-hander will throw a bullpen session over the weekend in St. Petersburg when the team is playing the Rays. How he fares will ultimately determine if Urías, who suffered a left hamstring strain, will be back in early June.

However long May and Urías are sidelined remains to be determined. But what the Dodgers do know is that they’re going to get a chance to watch two pitchers they believe can be mainstays in the rotation for many years to come.

“It's a great opportunity for these young pitchers,” Roberts said. “They're both talented. It's not what we expected, but that really doesn't matter. So, I think that the only way to look at it is, you've got to embrace this opportunity for these guys. And it's up to all of us to make them feel comfortable and perform at a high level, because it shouldn't be on Bobby -- if it is Bobby; it's going to be Gavin -- to carry the brunt.”