If you’re one of the few who hasn’t heard the news, another acclaimed pitching prospect is preparing to make his big league debut for the Dodgers. This time around it’s 25-year-old righty Tony Gonsolin, the fourth-best prospect in the Los Angeles system, according to MLB Pipeline.
Gonsolin, a native of Vacaville, CA, suffered an oblique scare earlier in the season, but has slowly been building himself back up. So far for Triple-A OKC this season, he’s started eight games and has posted a 1-1 record with a 2.77 ERA. He has logged an even 26 innings while striking out 31 opposing batters.
He’ll make his MLB debut in the series finale against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, squaring off against right-hander Taylor Clarke.
In his most recent start against Triple-A Memphis last Thursday, he threw five full innings, surrendering two earned runs on five hits and a walk while striking out nine.
Last year, he was the recipient of 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.
He started his 2018 season in the hitter-friendly 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 on the Dodgers’ farm.
He’s 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.
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.”
There’s been a ton of speculation as to whom Gonsolin will replace on the 25-man roster, but there haven’t yet been any indications which way management is leaning. Two possible candidates are JT Chargois or Caleb Ferguson. Both relievers were recently recalled earlier in June.