Dodgers 'couldn't be more impressed' with Stone
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Before Spring Training started, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts knew Gavin Stone would make an impact in the Majors at some point during the 2023 season.
Now that Roberts and the entire Dodgers organization have gotten a closer look at Stone, the excitement around the young right-hander continues to grow with every pitch.
“Certainly the skill set, we already knew about, but it’s still good to see in bullpen sessions every day,” Roberts said. “But I just think learning more about the person, the heartbeat, how he performs on this stage. That’s really telling. I couldn’t be more impressed with Gavin.”
In his first three appearances this spring, Stone’s ability was on full display. His four-seamer sits in the mid-90s and his changeup is considered one of the best -- if not the best -- in the system. But on Sunday, as he continues to build up for the Triple-A season, Stone finally got an extended look in a Cactus League game.
Stone tossed three scoreless innings, striking out eight in the process. His four-seamer was jumping and his changeup dominated hitters on both sides of the plate. Stone’s slider was also working, making him nearly untouchable. In four appearances this spring, Stone has thrown 6 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out 14 of the 27 batters he has faced.
“It just gives me confidence,” Stone said. “I feel like that’s key to being a good pitcher, having confidence on the mound. If you don’t exude confidence, then hitters are going to have better at-bats. So that’s just my main focus, to stay as confident as possible on the mound, because if I throw my stuff, then I know my stuff is better than their stuff.”
Stone, the No. 5-ranked prospect in the Dodgers’ organization per MLB Pipeline, began the 2022 season with High-A Great Lakes and ended it with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Every step of the way, Stone dominated, posting a 1.48 ERA in 26 appearances (25 starts). That earned him Pitcher of the Year honors in the Dodgers’ organization.
Despite his strong spring, Stone isn’t in the mix to earn a spot in the rotation on Opening Day. The Dodgers will likely go with Ryan Pepiot or Michael Grove to replace the injured Tony Gonsolin. But if Stone continues to pitch the way he has since being selected in the fifth round of the 2020 Draft, the 24-year-old could be making Dodger Stadium his home this summer.
“It’s what we expect out of Gavin,” Roberts said. “And he’s only going to get better, which is exciting for all of us.”
Peralta returns to camp
David Peralta was back in the Dodgers’ clubhouse on Monday after participating with Team Venezuela during the World Baseball Classic. Peralta said he “had the time of my life” while representing his country.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” Peralta said. “I’ve never been a part of an All-Star team. It’s always been my goal. Never got the opportunity. But for me, that was it. That was my All-Star team. I was playing with teammates who are superstars, playing against other teams with superstars. The atmosphere in Miami, it was crazy. I’m loud -- and I couldn’t hear myself. So that’s how loud it was.”
Peralta also said playing in meaningful games early in the year actually helped him find his swing after undergoing back surgery this offseason. Playing on turf at loanDepot park also helped him check off another box. Peralta hit leadoff and played left field in the Dodgers' 5-1 loss to the Rockies on Monday.
• Daniel Hudson said he’s been frustrated by how slowly he has recovered from the torn left ACL that he sustained last June. The veteran right-hander hasn’t appeared in a Cactus League game and is still looking to hit some milestones in his rehab process. There’s no timetable for his return, but the Dodgers are hoping to have him back sometime in May or early June.
• Julio Urías, who was representing Mexico in the WBC, will be back in Dodgers camp this week following his squad’s elimination loss to Japan on Monday. The expectation is he’ll start on Friday against the Brewers. If that goes well, Urías will be lined up to start on Opening Day, a decision the Dodgers will make by March 23.