Fastball Command Is Key For Dodgers’ Bobby Miller

Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone arrived in the Dodgers’ organization from opposite ends of the 2020 draft.

An acclaimed righthander from Louisville, Miller was drafted 29th overall. Stone was less heralded at Central Arkansas. The Dodgers chose him with the next-to-last pick in the pandemic-shortened five-round draft.

But the pair entered this season as two of the top-rated pitching prospects in baseball. The Dodgers had every reason to look forward to a day when Miller and Stone would be in their rotation together.

That day arrived earlier than expected. Injuries to starters Julio Urias, Dustin May, Ryan Pepiot and Michael Grove depleted the Dodgers’ pitching in May, and they turned to Stone and May.

“You just never know when you’re really ready, right? Until you know,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “The skill set is there.”

The Dodgers called up Stone for one start in early May. He allowed five runs in four innings in his MLB debut, but back at Triple-A Oklahoma City he dominated in two starts before getting the call again on May 22.

Miller got a late start to his season while dealing with shoulder soreness. He topped 100 mph with his fastball in his first Triple-A start but had a 5.65 ERA after four starts there.

The Dodgers called up Miller for his MLB debut on May 23. He struck out five and walked one, allowing four hits and one run in five innings against a powerful Braves lineup.

“The first thing is command,” Roberts said of Miller’s outlook. “When you’ve got a big fastball, you can bully guys and overpower guys. And as you get higher up, you can’t do that. Guys can spoil pitches. They can hit the fastball.

“So I think it’s two-part—it’s commanding the fastball and also being able to understand when and how to use his breaking stuff. Because skill set-wise, he has a lot of talent.”


— Outfielder Bradley Zimmer was granted his release from Triple-A Oklahoma City and signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox. Zimmer, 30, spent parts of the past six seasons in the big leagues with the Guardians, Blue Jays and Phillies. He hit .219 with three home runs in 31 games for OKC this year.

— Outfielders Andy Pages and Jonny DeLuca were given mid-May promotions from Double-A Tulsa to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Both were added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster last winter and are getting their first taste of Triple-A. Page hit .284 with three home runs and a .925 OPS in 33 games at Double-A. DeLuca hit .279 with 10 home runs and a .971 OPS in 32 games for Tulsa.

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