2021 Dodgers Top 50 Prospects: No. 1, RHP Josiah Gray

Josiah Gray.

We’ve reached the end of this year’s prospect countdown with someone I’m sure a lot of folks were expecting to be atop this list when the countdown began.

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Previous Entries

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I’ve included Future Value (FV) grades and risks for the Top 50 prospects. For example, if a guy gets a “50 low,” he has a really good chance to be an average player at his position. If a guy gets a “55/High,” there’s a good chance he won’t reach that ceiling, but the potential is there. The grades are 20-80 (50 is average), and the risks are as follows:

  • Low: Players who are usually older, have debuted, are relievers and/or have higher floors than ceilings
  • Medium: Players who are a mix of younger and older, usually have higher floors
  • High: Players who are usually younger with potential, but also question marks
  • Extreme: Players who are generally younger with star potential, but a ton of question marks

This is to show what value a player might provide at the MLB level. The higher the risk, the less likely a player will reach that ceiling.

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Editor’s Note: I am not a scout (#notascout). I am an amateur when it comes to evaluating players. I don’t claim to be a pro, I just want to pass along the information I observe/obtain to the people. Notes and comments are based on personal observation, talking to sources, reading scouting reports and watching video. For future entries in this series: All ratings in the charts below are on the standard 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is roughly average, 80 is elite and nearly unattainable and 20 is unacceptably poor. Enjoy.

Other Notes: “Role” is a realistic future role (slightly optimistic in some cases). Age is the 2020 season age for the player (June 30 is the cutoff date). “Comps” are usually the best-case scenario based off stature and production. They in no way guarantee the player will mirror the career of the comp.

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Rating Key

80 — Elite
75 — Borderline Elite
70 — Plus-plus
60-65 — Plus
55 — Above-average
50 — Average
45 — Fringe-average
40 — Below-average
30-35 — Poor
20-25 — Very Poor

1. Josiah Gray

DOB: 12/21/97Age: 23Height: 6’1Weight: 190Bats: RightThrows: RightPosition: RHP

Acquired: 2nd round competitive balance (No. 72 overall) of 2018 MLB Draft, Le Moyne College, $772,500 signing bonus; trade with Reds December 2018

Strengths: Plus-fastball, plus-slider, plus-command

Weaknesses: Not prototypical SP size, durability concerns long-term

Key statistics: 2.28 ERA, 2.25 (A)/2.58 (A+)/2.43 (AA) FIP, 28.5 K%, 6.0 BB%

Role: No. 2 SP

Player comparison: Marcus Stroman (his words, not mine)

Summary: When the Dodgers traded Yasiel Puig in December 2018, not a lot of folks were happy. Fast forward 2 1/2 years and the Dodgers ended up heisting the Reds in that deal, and the biggest prize ended up being Gray. His ascension isn’t terribly surprising given the Dodgers’ player developmental system and the fact that Gray doesn’t have a ton of mileage on his arm since he only picked up pitching in 2018 as a converted shortstop.

Gray has seen his stuff improve since being acquired by the Dodgers. His fastball ranges from 92-96 MPH, but he sits more in the 93-94 range. It’s not a super high-spin offering, but he works well up in the strike zone with it and it has some good tailing action at times. He pairs his fastball with a bat-missing slider in the mid-80s. It plays up because he’s able to manipulate it a few different ways — a traditional slider, a slurve and a cutter. But with the development of his low-80s curveball — which as flashed above-average — could have him tighten up his slider a bit. He also has a potentially average changeup that he’s still refining.

His athleticism is among the best of any pitching prospect in the game. That allows him to repeat his delivery consistently, which should lead to at least above-average command/control. He has a quick arm and despite not being a taller pitcher, he’s able to get leverage on his pitches and can be successful anywhere in the strike zone. He has impeccable makeup that helps everything in his arsenal play up.

With Dustin May going down for, presumably, a while, the chances Gray debuts in 2021 improved dramatically. He was probably going to see LA at some point anyway, but it’s much more likely now. Until that time, he’ll begin the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Video

ToolPresentFuture
Fastball5560
Curveball4550
Slider5560
Changeup4550
Command/Control5060
FV/Risk60Medium

2020 Ranking: 3
2021 Location: Triple-A Oklahoma City/Los Angeles
ETA: 2021

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Thanks for following along with this countdown. The Minor League Baseball season begins tomorrow! I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see these kids in action again.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.