While you know the name of the pitcher who was on the mound when the Dodgers clinched their first world title in 32 years, chances are you might not remember who started that game. Right-hander Tony Gonsolin toed the rubber and recorded the first 5 outs of the World Series clincher. Admittedly, his postseason was rocky, but his regular season was good enough to earn him rookie of the year honors from Baseball America.
Now heading into the 2021 season, Tony Gonsolin is a man without a defined role.
He’s yet to allow a run this spring and he dominated for 3 scoreless innings with 5 strikeouts on Thursday night against the Mariners. After the game, Dave Roberts spoke highly of the work the pitcher put in over the offseason.
“He had a really good winter. He spent the entire winter in Los Angeles and I just can’t say enough about the commitment that he’s made to himself and getting better.”
The 26-year-old was among a group of players that spent much of their time in the offseason working out at Dodger Stadium. While Gonsolin was no slouch in 2020 (9 games, 8 starts, 2.31 ERA in 46.2 IP), he learned in the postseason that there are facets to his game that he can improve on.
Moreover, in November, the right-hander told DodgersNation.com that while things didn’t quite go his way in October, he took it all as a learning experience. Now he’s putting in the work to make that next step.
“He’s using all the resources,” Dave Roberts added on Thursday. “From the weight room to the pitch design guys — he’s just in a good place mechanically, clarity of mind and he’s going out there on the attack … it’s been really fun to watch.”
The Dodgers are stretching out all available starting arms this spring. As it stands, there are about 8 pitchers vying for 5 spots. However, more realistically, there are 4 battling it out for one spot at best. Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Trevor Bauer, and Julio Urias are locks in the rotation. David Price has said he’s open to relieving, but in all likelihood, he gets that final spot out of respect alone.
The season is jumping from 60 games to 162 once again this year, leaving little doubt that Gonsolin will pick up more than his fair share of starts for LA over the marathon. But at least this spring, he’s making Dave Roberts’ roster decisions that much harder.