Dodgers Prospect Notes: Stone heating up & the steps yet to go, Hurt shoves, Newell goes deep, more

Chris Newell (Photo: Cody Bashore)

April 27th, 2023 Scoreboard


After seeing a Norse god look rather mortal on Tuesday, Dodger fans have to be wondering: what’s the word on Gavin Stone? Well, the 24-year-old had another good showing on Thursday, as he works to elevate the pressure on the big club:

Though Stone got out of the gate in rough fashion, allowing six earned runs in 2.2 IP back on March 31st, the 6’1 righty has settled in rather nicely since, posting a 2.86 ERA in 22.0 IP with a 24/7 K/BB over that timeframe. But, success alone isn’t enough to clear that last hurdle and ascend to the big leagues, as there are a few boxes that are (likely) left to check.

First of all, velocity, as Stone is indeed in the midst of a ramp-up. The good: Stone’s last fastball of the day was 94.0 mph. The less good: he is still seeing a velo drop off.

While he was able to reach back for a little extra juice when he needed it, by and large, he was sitting a couple ticks lighter from the 3rd inning on. For a guy who lives and dies by his exceptional changeup, perhaps that isn’t as big of an issue as it would be for some, but his fastball is of a lower spin variety, and as he lacks pinpoint command of it, so every bit helps.

The second thing to look for is the increased breaking ball usage, and throwing them 25% of the time like Stone did tonight is a step in the right direction. I say breaking ball and them because those four velocity outliers at 80 mph on and below on the chart above were misclassified curveballs, so he is indeed working on the entire repertoire while with Oklahoma City.

Lastly, and very notably due to the rash of stolen bases of late, Oklahoma City’s play-by-play commentator Alex Freedman said that when Stone had a runner on, the bench held up a stopwatch. It’s only speculation, but the thinking is that the org is working on ensuring guys are getting to the plate within a certain amount of time in order control the running game. Thank heavens.


Kyle Hurt has come out with guns blazing for Tulsa:

Yeah, those are some ugly swings.

The strikeout rate is impossible to ignore; you strike out guys at the Double-A level more than 46% of the time, folks will sit up and pay attention. While the walk rate is still a tad high at 10.3%, it’s less than half his rate from his stint with the Drillers last Summer at 21.9%. Indeed, Hurt’s current rate would represent his best total at any full season minor league stop.

Stuff was never the question with the former USC Trojan, command of it was, and if these gains stick, he could ascend quickly as a power reliever.


It’s unfortunate that the camera operator lost it, because 2022 12th round pick Chris Newell‘s 5th homer for Rancho was apparently quite the blast:

Having played for the University of Virginia, it comes as little surprise that he’s Cavalier about doing damage. Oof, that’s bad.

Anyway, Newell is showing a very interesting collection of tools, as he is leading the Quakes in homers and stolen bases, and he is second in OPS with a mark of .961. Being a D-1 draftee, we really won’t know much of anything until he makes it to Great Lakes, but the 22-year-old is handling what’s in front of him in the interim, and some base-stealing threats are more than welcome in the org.


2022 3rd round pick Alex Freeland finally got to show what he can from the right side of the plate on Thursday, as he ended collecting the game winning RBI (GW-RBI folks, stand up, you know who you are):

Freeland’s OPS in the early going is just .687, but it serves as a tremendous reminder of how the Midwest League suppresses offense. Coming in to Thursday’s game, Freeland’s wRC+ was 103. A sub-.700 OPS, and that equates to a very slightly above average offensive performance. Considering he is 1.3 years younger than average for the league as well, I will be looking for things to tick up a bit more with some added experience and the temperatures.


Here’s Friday’s start times for the minor-league clubs (all times Pacific), along with the Dodger affiliate’s starting pitcher:


Enjoy your Friday, folks.

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