Dodgers To Promote Michael Grove

The Dodgers will promote right-handed pitching prospect Michael Grove on Sunday, and Grove will make his MLB debut in some capacity during Los Angeles’ game with the Phillies.  Manager Dave Roberts told reporters (including J.P. Hoornstra of The Southern California News Group) that Grove will either work as a starter, or as a bulk pitcher behind an opener.

The 25-year-old Grove was a second-round pick for the Dodgers in the 2018 draft, and could have gone higher if he hadn’t had over a full season of college ball wiped out by Tommy John surgery.  Both MLB Pipeline (23rd) and Baseball America (24th) place the righty within their rankings of the team’s top 30 prospects, citing his big fastball that sits in the 96-99mph range, and with Pipeline also giving his slider a 60 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale.

A midseason arm slot adjustment helped Grove achieve better results at Double-A last season, and he has kept it going this year with a 2.76 ERA, 32.8% strikeout rate, and 7.5% walk rate over 16 1/3 frames (still at the Double-A level).  The drop in walk rate is a particularly good sign given the control problems that hampered Grove earlier in his minor league career, and he has allowed only one home run this season after giving up 26 long balls during his first 122 2/3 pro innings.

Scouts aren’t sure if Grove’s stuff will allow him to remain as a starter in the big leagues, or if he could eventually be used as a bullpen weapon.  Theoretically, Grove could be an intriguing choice as a multi-inning reliever if L.A. 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.

For now, he’ll get to bypass Triple-A and jump right to the big leagues.  Clayton Kershaw’s recent trip to the 15-day injured list left the Dodgers down two starters (Kershaw and Andrew Heaney), and in need of some rotation help during a stretch of 31 games in 30 days.  Prospect Ryan Pepiot also recently made his MLB debut and could be the likeliest candidate for a more extended look, so it’s possible Sunday’s outing could be a one-off for Grove.

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