Without fail, there are at least a couple prospects every spring making a case for their inclusion on the big league roster. Spring camp is the one time of the year these youngsters have a chance to compete against veteran players at the highest level, despite many of the vets taking the field to polish up mechanics or fix a small tweak here and there.
The Vacaville, CA native is fresh off winning the Dodgers’ 2018 Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. In 26 combined starts last season with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa, Gonsolin registered a 10-2 record with a 2.60 ERA (37 ER/ 128.0 IP), striking out a combined 155 batters against 42 walks. Gonsolin started his season in the California League, posting a 2.69 ERA (25 ER/83.2 IP) in 17 starts and was named a Mid-Season All-Star before his promotion to Tulsa on July 14. He then dominated in nine starts for the Drillers, going a perfect 6-0 with a 2.44 ERA (12 ER/44.1 IP), a 1.08 WHIP and a .203 opponent’s batting average.
Gonsolin was selected in the ninth round of the 2016 MLB draft out of St. Mary’s College where he split playing time as an outfielder and pitcher before he transitioned to pitching full-time with the Dodgers. In 87 career minor-league games (26 starts), he went 18-10 with 10 saves, 3.14 ERA (80 ER/229.0 IP) and struck out 265 batters against 68 walks.
In 2019 spring camp, he picked up right where he left off last year. He has made four Cactus League appearances so far—two starts—and still hasn’t surrendered a run. He has tossed nine full innings, scattering just six hits and two walks while striking out six opposing batters.
Against the White Sox on Saturday, he threw three scoreless frames in the start, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out one.
Gonsolin is another one of those pitchers who could conceivably have more value as a reliever down the road, but management is still grooming him as a starter to maximize his worth. During his career, the righty has touched triple digits multiple times, but those cases occurred when he was throwing in relief. In a starting role, his four-seam usually settles into the 94-97 MPH range.
MLB Pipeline currently has Gonsolin ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the system.
It just might be Gonsolin’s diverse repertoire that keeps him in line as a starting pitcher, so long as he can maintain his command. According to MLB Pipeline‘s scouting report, “Gonsolin’s upper-80s splitter devastates hitters with the way it dives at the plate, and his low-80s curveball has become a consistent plus offering with nice shape. He also uses a mid-80s slider to give hitters a different look.”
Last Thursday, skipper Dave Roberts told reporters that he wouldn’t be surprised if Gonsolin reached the majors at some point during the 2019 season.
The way he’s throwing right now, it will be hard not to give him at least a look or two.