How do I know my expectations for prospect call-ups have been successfully recalibrated? When I heard Gavin Stone and Bobby Miller would be joining the Dodgers rotation this week, my response was a resounding “meh.”
It’s true they have upside, both being consensus top-100 prospects coming into the year, and it’ll forever be true that upside is a worthy investment in Fantasy. But upside comes in many forms, and roster space is finite. Particularly at starting pitcher, given its sheer abundance of options, you have to play the percentages. And those percentages come down against Stone and Miller making a significant Fantasy impact right now.
We’ve already gotten a peak at Stone, who debuted on May 3, the same day as Brandon Pfaadt. But while Pfaadt has become a cautionary tale for the dangers in overvaluing prospect call-ups (even though his past two starts have been decent), Stone’s debut was the more discouraging of the two. His changeup, which was supposed to be an absolute world-beater and the key to him delivering a 1.48 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 12.4 K/9 in the minors last year, registered just two swinging strikes on 33 tosses.
Maybe it was nerves. Maybe it was improper sequencing. Maybe it’s unfair to judge a pitcher on any one start, which is a standard I can agree to. But it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for Stone at Triple-A either. The strikeouts have been there, but he’s issued seven walks in 11 innings since returning to that level, also serving up two home runs.
Miller, meanwhile, is a higher-rated prospect than either of the other two Millers (Bryce Miller and Mason Miller) who we’ve seen come up and have immediate success, but it’s been a while since the production has backed up the scouting reports. He put together a 4.25 ERA between Double- and Triple-A last year and has underwhelmed in every respect through four starts at Triple-A this year.
You might argue he turned the corner in his latest start, allowing one run on two hits in six innings, his fastball peaking at 101 mph, but he registered only six swinging strikes on 76 pitches, which is no indicator of dominance. His promotion seems like a rare case of the Dodgers’ hand being forced, which is to say they’re bringing him up before he’s actually ready. It may not be for long either, what with Julio Urias only sidelined by a hamstring strain.
Having said all this, it’s worth reminding everyone Bryce Miller had a 6.41 ERA before getting the call — and at Double-A, no less — so you can never really know how it’s going to play out. But I’d look to add any of the pitchers mentioned below before turning to the Dodgers’ latest call-ups.
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Possible waiver wire pickups
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