Gavin Stone's first complete game shutout cements his future with Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago White Sox
Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago White Sox / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

By the end of last season, the future of the Dodgers' No. 5 prospect in 2023 seemed unclear. Gavin Stone had pitched 31 innings at various points throughout the year, starting with three starts in May that left him with a disastrous 14.40 ERA and got him sent back down to Triple-A until July. The rest of his appearances, mostly out of the bullpen, weren't much better, and he managed to shrink his ERA to a better but still very bad 9.00.

However, an opportunity arose going into 2024. Emmet Sheehan, who was expected to be LA's fifth starter, was sidelined during spring training without throwing a single pitch in a game, and the Dodgers went back to the drawing board. It coincided with a very respectable spring record for Stone, which earned him a spot on the roster when the team went overseas for the Seoul Series.

He appeared in an exhibition game against Team Korea behind Bobby Miller, then proceeded to throw 3 1/3 almost-perfect innings (he walked one batter) while racking up eight Ks. It proved to be a decisive outing for Dodgers management, who named him their fifth starter later that day.

Flash forward three months and some change later to this Wednesday night, Dodgers vs. White Sox. Stone entered with a 3.04 ERA on the season and a 2.27 ERA over his last seven starts. His resurgence was already shaping to be one of the biggest highlights of the Dodgers' season, but then he took the mound in Chicago and proceeded to throw the first complete game shutout by a Dodgers rookie since 2013 to complete a sweep for LA. Now, he's gone from highlight to narrative centerpiece.

Dodgers' Gavin Stone threw his first career complete game shutout against the White Sox on Wednesday night

The Dodgers got off to a perfect start with yet another Shohei Ohtani leadoff home run. Their run-scoring would end by the end of the third inning, after a sac fly from Teoscar Hernández and a two-run double from Freddie Freeman, but that was all the lineup needed to do.

Stone only allowed four hits on the night, and only one was for extra bases. He refused to walk a single batter and struck out seven across all nine of the night's innings, and he only needed 102 pitches to do it. He's the first Dodger to throw a complete game (or a complete game shutout) since Walker Buehler in 2022, and their first rookie since Hyun Jin Ryu in 2013.

He joins an exclusive club among pitchers this season, too; only 12 others have thrown complete games (Max Fried is the only one who's done it twice), and only seven others haven't allowed a run during those starts.

This is a massive milestone for Stone, who very well could've been back in Triple-A to start the season if it weren't for the adjustments he's been able to make throughout the season to make him — decisively — the Dodgers' No. 2 starter in Yoshinobu Yamamoto's absence.

Stone has only been trending upwards this season, and the Dodgers may have a real star on their hands. This is a huge milestone for him, and while we can't say we hope it happens often (can't have him blowing out his arm by trying to go nine innings every start), it does feel like we're just seeing the beginning of something big.