Only three days after the Nationals shipped Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a blockbuster trade deadline deal, one of the headliner prospects they received in return will make his D.C. debut.
Right-hander Josiah Gray will start for the Nationals on Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies in what will be just the third appearance of his young major-league career. The Nationals added him to the roster ahead of their game Sunday, optioning reliever Tanner Rainey to Triple-A Rochester to make room on the roster.
Ranked 59th on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list, Gray joined catcher Keibert Ruiz (No. 16) as the centerpieces of the trade with the Dodgers that also netted the Nationals right-handed pitcher Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Donovan Casey.
“Everything I’ve heard about him, he’s a great kid,” Martinez said of Gray, 23, on Sunday. “Wants to put the work in, puts the work in and he’s very competitive so, like I said, I’m looking forward to building a relationship with him and moving forward watching him compete.”
A shortstop who converted to pitcher at Division II college Le Moyne, Gray throws a fastball that sits around 93-96 mph and touches 98. His best breaking ball is his slider, though he also mixes in some curveballs and the occasional changeup. Lauded for both his athleticism and intelligence, Gray is projected to be a mid-rotation starter with some upside to be even better.
Ruiz, who appeared in eight games for the Dodgers over the last two years, will report to Triple-A Rochester. The 23-year-old hit .311 with 16 home runs and a 1.012 OPS over 52 games for Los Angeles’s Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City this season.