The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ top pitching prospect, Josiah Gray, will likely make his MLB debut on Tuesday versus the San Francisco Giants. The righty amassed a 2.87 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, and 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings in three starts and one relief appearance for Oklahoma City. The twenty-three-year-old struck out 22 batters while walking only two across 15 2/3 innings for the Dodgers’ AAA affiliate. The Dodgers have yet to list a starter for Tuesday’s game, but Gray may eat innings whether he starts the game or not. Alex Wood, who is 8-3 with a 3.67 ERA, is scheduled to start the game for the Giants.
Josiah Gray turned heads at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York where he compiled a 1.92 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings in three seasons. But a lot of college pitchers have the ability to strike batters out. What Gray has is the ability to command the strike zone. In 117 1/3 college innings, Josiah walked only 28 batters versus 137 strikeouts. This amounts to walking 2.1 batters per nine innings. Many young pitchers struggle with their command, but Gray has not had a problem. Professional teams that may not have been interested in Josiah while he was attending New Rochelle High School in New York quickly began to take notice.
Josiah Gray Dominates Ahead of MLB Debut
Josiah Gray was selected number 72 overall in the second round of the 2018 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. Gray pitched in rookie ball in 2018 for the Reds – and pitched well. In 52 1/3 innings, Josiah pitched to a 2.58 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and struck out 10.1 batters per nine innings. Then the Dodgers sent Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, Matt Kemp, Kyle Farmer, and $7 million to the Reds for Homer Bailey, Jeter Downs, and Gray in the subsequent offseason. Josiah Gray is the best return for the Dodgers in the deal. Jeter Downs is currently in the Boston Red Sox farm system.
Gray has been destroying professional batters at every level. For the Dodgers in 2019, Gray pitched in A, high-A, and double-A. His strikeouts per nine innings never dropped below 9.4 and his walks per nine innings never rose above 2.7. Combined, Josiah pitched to a 2.28 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and struck out 10.2 batters per nine innings in 2019. Gray struck out 147 batters while walking only 33 in 130 innings. One of the more intriguing statistics from that 2019 season is that he only gave up three home runs. Gray did not pitch in 2020 due to the pandemic-shortened season.
Josiah Gray recently returned from a right shoulder impingement. He suffered the injury prior to the All-Star break.
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