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.