Tony Gonsolin has been one of the best surprises for the Dodgers in 2020. We all knew he was good, but we honestly didn’t think he would get this kind of chance to prove himself. Through six starts this year, Gonsolin has proven that he is right where he belongs.
If you eliminate the last outing when he came on unprepared in relief following an injury to Dustin May, Gonsolin has been unbelievable. In his six starts, he has allowed just 3 earned runs across 30.2 innings of work(0.88 ERA). To say that he has been one of the Dodgers’ best starters in 2020 would be fair.
Despite that, Gonsolin hasn’t even had a consistent role with the team. Dave Roberts has had him slot in for spot starts several times, but Gonsolin’s continued dominance forced the issue. So much so that the Dodgers traded Ross Stripling to Toronto, in part, to make room for Tony in the rotation.
Gonsolin’s playoff role also does not appear to be set, though it should be. The Dodgers have Kershaw and Buehler going in the first two games, but nothing set beyond that. Roberts confirmed that Gonsolin was making the conversation difficult following his outing on Tuesday.
Well, he’s certainly in the [postseason] plans. I think right now, the great thing about us is that we have a lot of options with starting pitching. We know Clayton and Walker are going to start game one and game two. And we’re talking about a three-game series, there are some discussions that need to be had with the rest of the three guys.
It’s sort of baffling to think that the Dodgers are so deep that Gonsolin might not get the chance to start in a postseason game. But the possibility of Gonsolin coming in after Dustin May or Julio Urias, or the other way around, could also be in play. When asked about how he felt he threw and what that meant for his postseason role, Gonsolin was humble as ever.
Every outing is an opportunity to show and try to convince the staff and front office and all that for making the playoff roster. So ideally that’s the goal, and at the end of that winning the games in October and taking home a championship….Every game that I get to go out there and throw is the biggest game for me, I just wanted to go out there and throw strikes and hopefully give our team a chance.
Personally, I don’t think there is even a conversation to be had. Tony Gonsolin should be the third pitcher in the playoff rotation if you’re having Kershaw and Buehler go the first two games. Gonsolin has been the Dodgers’ second-most valuable starting pitcher in terms of WAR just behind Clayton Kershaw. He’s also managed to do with two fewer starts under his belt.
In terms of advanced metrics, Gonsolin leads the way for Dodgers starting pitchers in plenty of categories. His FIP(2.40), xFIP(3.74), and starting ERA(0.88) all rank at the top. Dave Roberts, please use Tony where he belongs.