Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at Michael Grove

As the pitching carousel continues to turn for the Los Angeles Dodgers, another generation of players are getting their chances on the big-league stage.

Last week, fans had the chance to see 24-year-old righty Ryan Pepiot throw in the majors for the first time. On Sunday in the series finale against the Phillies, they’ll be able to see 25-year-old right-hander Michael Grove.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Grove was originally chosen by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2018 draft out of West Virginia University and was moved to the organizational 40-man roster over the winter to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.

So far this season, Grove has posted an 0-1 record with a 2.76 ERA and a 0.980 WHIP with and impressive 22 punchouts over five starts and 16-1/3 innings of work at Double-A Tulsa. In his last start on May 8, he went four innings against Wichita, allowing one earned run on two hits and three walks while striking out five.

Both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America have Grove within their rankings of the team’s top 30 prospects, citing his big fastball that sits around 97 mph with the ability to hit triple digits.

According to MLB Pipeline, Grove “owns a pair of high-spin breaking balls with depth that lack consistency but can overwhelm hitters when they’re on, with his slider that can reach the upper 80s grading better than his low-80s curveball. He doesn’t have much trust in his changeup yet, which has some fade at times but usually lacks much life or velocity separation from his fastball.”

A midseason arm slot adjustment last year helped Grove achieve better results at Double-A over the final few months. He has kept it going this year with the best numbers of his minor league career. The walk-rate drop is a good sign, given the control problems that hampered Grove during his early years in the organization.

Scouts aren’t sure if Grove’s stuff will allow him to remain as a starter or if he could eventually be used as a bullpen weapon. Theoretically, Grove could be an intriguing choice as a multi-inning reliever if Los Angeles doesn’t feel he can succeed in a normal starting role, and the Dodgers’ creative pitcher usage allows for many possibilities for Grove’s future.

As of Saturday night, the team still wasn’t sure how they’ll use the youngster in Sunday’s finale against the Phillies, but he’s definitely in the mix to get a fair amount of pitches.

Upon making his MLB debut on Sunday, grove will become the 23rd pitcher the team has used already on the young season.

33 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at Michael Grove

  1. Not much pressure on Grove today. He won’t take the mound feeling he has to match the high standards and results of Buehler and Urias during this series.

  2. There is precedent for the Dodgers successfully bypassing AAA with some propects. Kershaw and Puig come to mind recently. Years ago the Dodgers did not want some of their young pitchers throwing in AAA Albuquerque. One theory was that in the extreme hitters environment pitchers might overthrow and develop bad habits if not injury.

    1. Our stud pitchers aren’t getting it done this week. Maybe the rookie will throw a no-hitter. 🙂

      1. With great good fortune he gets 9 outs without getting knocked out of the box. The Phillies have been hitting everything but they had several zeros up at the end of last night’s game. Maybe they are cooling off.

        It’s a good thing to have several prospects at AA. But every team has that. We may have a few more than most, probably debatable, but in a situation like the one the Dodgers find themselves, it’s far better to have replacement arms at AAA. And who is that? Well, looks like White, Jackson. Ferguson and nobody else on the 40 man. What’s the plan for this 30 game marathon? AA pitching? Gulp.

      2. I believe Doc sent out a questionnaire last night, asking which of his position players would be available for a couple of innings. Unfortunately, Kike is no longer available.

    2. Yes, in many cases they seem to park the top prospects at AA and sign career minor leaguers for the AAA roster.

  3. Another guy with control issues? I’m just glad they are giving the younger guys an opportunity rather than the parade of other teams rejects we saw last year. I suspect that’s next. I think we can safely say white and Jackson are now out of the picture so we have pepiot and and grove having their last fling . Sound negative? I said the very same thing last year about the very same players. Let the parade begin. And where is miller?

      1. He pitched a very good game yesterday. Was matched up against Jack Leiter, a very highly rated Rangers prospect, and definitely got the best of him.

  4. I agree Gordon. Give the young Dodgers a taste of the MLB! These young players get the thrill of realizing they are close to their dream. Plus it allows them to measure their performance to see what needs to improve to get to the show full-time.
    Hopefully, the Dodgers continue to give the upcoming players some experience. Knowing you are this close to the big leagues has to motivate.
    Several young arms are close and the Dodgers will need to evaluate who to protect and who to let go. Getting MLB experience is a great barometer. You don’t know how the player will react until you put him in that situation.

  5. I hope he does well, but he seems to be another with good stuff but that has issues with throwing enough strikes and location.

  6. Disappointing series so far. Our pitching has been hammered and the offense wakes up way too late. They have also hit some bullets that have been caught.. Also the Phillies are supposed to be one of the worst fielding teams in the majors, but it is the Dodgers who are committing gaffs. And at exactly the wrong times. One plus for today, Harper will not be in the lineup.

  7. I’ve though about the logic of bringing up a new pitcher and immediately giving him a start. The speed of major league play is far faster than AA or AAA. If possible, wouldn’t it be better to let a new player watch a few games to get a feel for the speed he has to function at?
    There’s also the idea of using an opener when a minor leaguer first pitches. That gives him an inning or two to “feel” the game speed rather than starting him on the mound for the first pitch of the game.
    Just throwing out ideas.

    1. None of these guys are “young pitchers” ,except miller. They are all past their past due dates. They need to be there now. You can never be sure how they will perform until they get on a major league pitching mound. If you don’t know by age 25/26 then expect the worst.

      1. I think Waldo may have meant young in terms of MLB experience rather than age, but I think every player’s mentality is different. With some, Waldo’s idea might be just what they needed and with others (a Buehler type personality) they might enjoy being thrown into the fire feet first.

      2. I agree Jefe. The Covid year changed things for prospects. I do agree that by 25 you better be showing something in the minors, and our guys are. They’re just not ready to step into the rotation and take the ball every 5th day through October.

        Grove looks the part so far. He threw 72 pitches last time out. He can certainly go 3-4 with that today. That would be enormously helpful.

  8. Another untimely, very costly error undid what was shaping up as a pretty good debut for Grove.

      1. Really happy for him. I know he didn’t feel good about that error.
        Not only did he get his chance to win the game, but he actually came through. Bravo!

      1. I’ve arranged a beautiful retirement home for him. Sending the car over right now. Maybe you could bring him his cane Gordon. 🙂

      2. As a reminder Muncy was 27-28 before finding MLB success. JT was 29-30. CT3 was 26-27. Will Smith 24. Not every star breaks at age 20-22.

  9. Actually Jeff I was just commenting on the age of the real prospects. I think Busch is one of our few prospects I just wish they would get him out of double a. Maybe hold off til next year. My point always is that there is no such thing as a 25 year old prospect so watch those 24 year Olds carefully. I’m surprised cartaya is so far down the list.

    1. Tell you what Gordon, I’m going to promise you that Busch will be at OKC by July 1st, latest.

      1. I’ll write it down jeff. But June 1st would be better. He’s ripping.

      2. Could very well be by June 1st. I was just giving you a deadline date.
        Now where did I put Andrew’s phone number?

  10. Jackie Robinson was 28 when he played his first MLB game, Maury Wills was 26. Wills played 9 seasons in the minors and was NEVER considered a top prospect. You cannot judge a player simply by his age. Guys like Griffey Jr. do not often come along.

    1. That’s silly Michael. First of all you don’t have to go back 50 years to find someone who broke into the league at age 26 and became stars, it’s just really hard to find them. And the league is full of Ken griffeys , 21 year old superstars right now. But I’m going to try to think of a 26 year old in the last 50 years and I’ll let you know. Help u guys. Lol

Leave a Reply