This year has been unprecedented across MLB in terms of the number of rookies getting a shot. Teams have used 364 players that have qualified as rookies in 2020, a pace that would shatter last year’s mark if not for the shortened season. The Dodgers are certainly familiar with bringing up young talent during the season.
ESPN ranked out the rookies who have made the biggest impact on their team in 2020 earlier this week. Among the names are young superstars like Kyle Luis, Luis Robert, and Sixto Sanchez. But one LA player also cracked the top 5 for pitchers, and he truly has been one of the most clutch guys on the team down the stretch.
The Dodgers have utilized Tony Gonsolin mostly in a starting rotation capacity. Across 7 appearances this year, Gonsolin has made 6 starts. He did not give up more than 1 earned run in any of those 6 starts, though his relief appearance was tough. More from ESPN on the rookie:
Lanky redhead Dustin May, with his stiff-legged delivery and his filthy sinker, have gotten more attention, but the less-heralded Gonsolin, who at times has had to battle for his roster spot, has been the more effective of the two Dodgers rookie starters. A shaggy 26-year-old righty who bears a resemblance to Frank Zappa, he passed the 30-inning threshold only on Tuesday night, his first outing in which he reached 90 pitches — a stellar seven-inning turn against the Padres. His filthy fastball/splitter/slider/curve combo has befuddled hitters, generating a team-high 14.6% swinging strike rate while helping him limit walks and homers.
Gonsolin has put up a 1.1 WAR by Fangraphs’ measures, good for second among all rookie hurlers. Only Sixto Sanchez of the Marlins has a higher WAR at 1.3 across 2 fewer appearances. You would think that Gonsolin would have a start in the playoffs all but guaranteed, but that’s not quite the case. Dave Roberts has already said that Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw will pitch in the first 2 games but said there were still decisions to be made beyond that.
Both Tony Smokes and Code Red will undoubtedly garner NL ROY votes, but can either get enough to bring home the franchise’s unprecedented 19th honor in 2020?