It is well known that the Dodgers tend to shuffle their rotation throughout the season, giving players the rest necessary. However with the addition of Trevor Bauer, you have to wonder how many opportunities there will be for those vying for a spot at the back of the rotation.
Obviously the team will likely rest David Price and Clayton Kershaw, but as long as they are healthy they should have spots in the rotation for the bulk of the season. The same can be said for Bauer and Walker Buehler, leaving high upside pitchers like Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May whose value we need to consider.
Let’s take a look and see if they have any value for 2021:
It feels like Urias has been on our radars for years, yet he’s still just 24-years old. That said he’s never thrown more than 79.2 IP in the Majors and the most innings he’s thrown in a season since 2016 is 81.2 IP in 2019. Even if he was to win the fifth starters spot, how many innings do we really expect him to be allowed to throw?
It would seem like 120-130 would be a strong range, and that could mean significant time in the bullpen. That’s something that can’t be overlooked, considering that he’s thrived in a relief role throughout his time in the Majors:
- Starter – 3.61 ERA over 172.0 IP
- Reliever – 2.15 ERA over 67.0 IP
Considering a 5.03 ERA the third time through the batting order, that also speaks to the risk. Even as a starter, will he consistently go past 5.0 or 6.0 IP? Even pitching for LA that could mean limited opportunities for wins. Throw in the potential for home run issues (39.2% career groundball rate) and there’s reason to stay away.
Long-term is one thing, but for 2021 he’s not the type of gamble we’d want to take.
Verdict – Deny ‘Em
Gonsolin has thrived over 86.2 IP in the Majors the past two seasons, with a 2.60 ERA. However, like Urias there is the risk of home run issues with a 0.62 HR/9 despite a 37.7% groundball rate. He’s also unlikely to maintain his 2.28 BB/9.
Considering that he’s also benefited from a .230 BABIP and there seems to be more downside than upside. As a streaming option maybe, but with all the questions and likely the limited opportunities don’t pay the premium someone else may be willing to.
Verdict – Deny ‘Em
It’s easy to label May as the pitcher of the trio with the most upside. While he’s posted a 2.98 ERA over 90.2 IP in the Majors over the past two years, it’s the trio of skills he’s shown that should get you even more excited:
- Strikeouts – 7.54 K/9
- Control – 2.08 BB/9
- Groundballs – 50.8%
Obviously we’d like to see a few more strikeouts, and his 8.5% SwStr% and 29.7% O-Swing% doesn’t show much upside. However there’s significantly more upside for the 23-year old to tap into. As MLB.com has said in it’s scouting report:
May has one of the best 1-2 combinations of pitches among prospects. He primarily works with a harder-than-usual two-seam fastball that sits at 94-98 mph and has plenty of run with heavy sink, and a cutter that he added in 2018 that parks in the low 90s. He also has a sharp-breaking power curveball that creates groundouts and a decent changeup that he’s still learning to trust.
With the control and groundball rate realistic, it’s just a matter of time before he reaches his full potential. Whether or not he gets enough opportunities in 2021 remains to be seen, but his ceiling is by far the highest. If his cost drops, don’t hesitate to snap him up.
Verdict – Buy ‘Em
Source – Fangraphs