Tonight, Los Angeles Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, Dustin May, makes his major league debut. He will be starting the second of a four game series against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.
How He Got Here
At just 21, Dustin May has climbed through the minors at a fast pace, Rookie ball to this Major League debut in just three years. Fans got a good look at the player dubbed “Ginger Thor” this past spring as a non-roster invitee. Besides having a very memorable appearance he performed well and began the season in Double-A Tulsa. After going 3-5 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.147 WHIP, and 86 strikeouts in 15 starts, he was promoted to Triple-A OKC. His promotion resulted in an even more impressive 3-0 record with a 2.30 ERA, 1.098 WHIP, and 24 strikeouts in 5 starts.
Dodgers RHP Dustin May is our 8th-ranked prospect in baseball. In addition to the red lettuce he brings an upper-90’s two-seamer and a plus breaker. He’ll make his MLB debut tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/PCKxHYdQqq
— FanGraphs Prospects (@FG_Prospects) August 1, 2019
With Ross Stripling on the IL and the Dodgers failing to add any significant depth to their bullpen at the trade deadline, it’s not too shocking that they would opt to call up May now. Getting “Gingergaard” acclimated to the big league environment and it’s day-to-day routine now, may position him to be more effective pitching later this season and beyond. To be a be able to call him up a full month ahead of the September roster expansions is a luxury afforded by a 16-game lead in the NL West.
While there’s no solid indication that Dustin May will continue to make starts for the Dodgers this season, like Tony Gonsolin, he does bring another potential right-handed arm to the starting rotation. The Dodgers could very well platoon the two every 5th, or even 6th day if they choose to have Julio Urias make more starts. Using a 6-man rotation of Ryu, Kershaw, Maeda, Buehler, Urias, and either Gonsolin or May will reduce the workload on all arms and keep them fresher the post season. More likely, and with its own benefits, is that both May and Gonsolin alternate between starting and relief appearances.
Dustin May will "probably" make more than one start with #Dodgers. Andrew Friedman: "We're not thinking beyond tomorrow right now and just giving him an opportunity — meaning that we don't have everything mapped out. We don't need to right now."
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) August 2, 2019
For the Dodgers, alternating between the two pitchers in both capacities over the next two months gives them a solid look where each of their strengths and weaknesses lie. It’s an opportunity to see if they can genuinely start at this level or if they are better in relief appearances. For Dustin May it is a low pressure chance to get the big-league jitters out of the way and an early opportunity to compete a month early for a spot on the post season roster.
This right here is why this guy is so good. This is 97 with run from Dustin May. Insanity. pic.twitter.com/MRAt3AUDfj
— Jacob Rudner (@Jacob_Rudner) March 27, 2019
The Dodgers refused to give up Dustin May at the trade deadline to get a top-tier reliever to stabilize their bullpen. With Triple-A OKC highly touted to be filled with big league ready talent, the Dodgers are using their 16-game lead in the NL West to test its pitching depth in the minor league system.
Since the Friedman Era, the Dodgers have not budged at trade deadlines with top prospects. Trades that many fans thought they should have made could’ve seen the names of Bellinger, Buehler, Seager, Urias and Verdugo in colors other than Dodger Blue. Yes, the Dodgers have fallen short in the World Series in back-to-back appearances, but retaining these talents, talents that the front office wouldn’t budge on is what got the Dodgers there.
Dustin May is just another in a long line of prospects that have been retained to push the Dodgers to the Fall Classic yet again. Tonight fans get a chance to see “Rojo Thor” on the big stage and if Lux on their side, a new second baseman won’t be too far behind.