FanFest Interviews Reveal Hints of Prospective Player Roles for 2020

GettyImages-May

Even though chatter surrounding the controversial sign-stealing scandal dominated most of the player interviews at Dodgers FanFest on Saturday, there were still a few dialogues that pertained specifically to the field.

One of the first bits of information I found interesting is that young right-hander Dustin May told reporters that he’ll beginning the year in a starting role.

During his time in the majors last year, May made 14 appearances, 10 of which came out of the bullpen. He also made two relief appearances in the NLDS against the Nationals.

As it stands, as many as nine pitchers may be competing for spots in the big league starting rotation. Conceivably, Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw could be the only two who are locks, as May, Kenta MaedaJulio UriasAlex Wood, Tony Gonsolin and Ross Stripling all have experience throwing in relief.

The same situation applies for the newly acquired 30-year-old Jimmy Nelson, who told reporters at FanFest that he’s finally back to being in excellent shape physically.

At the time of his signing, team management stated that Nelson would be given every opportunity to make the starting rotation. However, should Nelson not be among the club’s five starting pitchers, he would probably be assigned a spot in the bullpen, being that he has no options remaining on his contract.

Coincidentally, Nelson has only made two relief appearances over the course of his six-year, big league career. Both of those came back in 2014 for the Brewers.

Interestingly, Urias told members of the media that he’s comfortable in whatever role the team intends for him. Back in November, management had indicated the young lefty would likely assume a starting role in 2020, but now that the picture has become crowded, there may be an open competition during Cactus League play this spring.

Whatever happens, it should be very interesting to see the front five starting pitchers that emerge once the smoke clears on 2020 Cactus League play. From what we can tell right now, May could be the first arm on deck at Triple-A Oklahoma City, prospectively earning a big league promotion in the event of an injury. Regardless, just because he doesn’t begin the season in the majors does not necessarily mean he won’t be there in the postseason, should the Dodgers make it that far.

Gonsolin could find himself in a similar position.

Either way, there’s certainly the possibility for disappointment among the starting rotation, especially when considering the inexperience of Buehler and Urias, the amount of wear and tear on Kershaw’s arm, the lack of late-season endurance by Maeda, and the injury histories of Wood and Nelson.

At the same time, considering the amount of potential and pure ability in the aforementioned list, there definitely lies the chance the Dodgers once again flaunt one of the best staffs in the National League.

 

24 thoughts on “FanFest Interviews Reveal Hints of Prospective Player Roles for 2020

  1. As you indicated Dennis, there is a huge spectrum of possible outcomes with Dodger starting pitchers this year. Even assuming that Buehler continues to improve slightly and Kershaw doesn’t regress much think of Nelson and Wood returning to their best pitching results and Urias finally getting to fulfill his potential. What happens if Maeda finally pitches as a starter the way that management tells him he needs to. it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

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  2. Kobe killed in a helicopter crash this morning in Calabasas. His daughter was killed also as were the pilot and 2 others. RIP Kobe.

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    1. Kobe was never my favorite Laker. I considered him too much of a ball hog. But I admired him tremendously for his “will to win” and what he did to get himself there. He is probably the most determined athlete I ever saw perform. That’s why I was really struck in the pit of my stomach when I heard the news. Kobe Bryant always seemed like an immortal super hero. Those guys never die. RIP Kobe. You contributed far more than what people saw on the court.

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      1. I liked Shaq better. But Jerry West was always my favorite Laker. I also loved Magic. But Kobe played hard every night.

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      2. I went back and forth on Shaq. If he had played as hard as Kobe every night he would have become the best NBA player of all time. Loved West and Baylor, but I think my favorite Laker to watch was Magic. The skill combined with the total joy he played with was really a treat to behold. He was a much better player than a GM.
        In Dodger news, it’s being reported (by unnamed sources) that AF is still talking to the Bosox about Betts.

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      3. I read that too. I am sure he does not want the Padres to get him over the Dodgers. I loved West and Baylor. Great teammates and real stars. The showtime Lakers were a joy to watch. I really loved that team. They even won an NBA title on my birthday once. James Worthy was also a favorite of mine. Looks like Castellanos is going to sign with the Reds.

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    1. Tell the guy not to steal, and he ends up running anyway. Give the guy a stop sign, and he runs right through it. Tell the guy to play deep, and he plays so shallow that a ball gets knocked over his head for a triple. You’re right—he probably won’t “get it” until it’s too late.

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      1. 5.5 fWAR as a 23 year old and nothing close to that since. What can you say? An incredible waste of talent. He can still have 3-5 productive years but only if he decides to listen and dedicate himself. I don’t see it. He will play somewhere but it’s more likely he won’t get what he thinks he’s worth and will play pissed than it is he will be humbled and dedicate himself.

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  3. With puigs physical talent he could have been one of the top players in the league, it’s a shame his arrogance, kept him from fulfilling his potential. He probably cost himself a100 to a150 million dollars, if not more, in earning potential. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him hit the cutoff man.
    ( that was a scoopism in case you didn’t get it ) 😀

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  4. Magic was my favorite, but kobe was the best, he had ice water in his veins. He was fearless. Shaq was a clown, puig and shaq were similar, endless potential, but they both did whatever the heck they felt like, they answered to no one, if shaq had put in a professional effort, he and Kobe could have won two or three more championships together, I have come to hate shaq for wasting the Lakers, and Kobe’s opportunities for what they could have accomplished.

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    1. My all time favorite was Jerry West. The Logo. Loved to watch him play, probably before your time Keith. Only one championship, but he was another guy who never took a day off. Just had the misfortune of playing while the Celtics had their dynasty. The Showtime Lakers were my favorite Laker team. Won a championship on my birthday once. Loved all those guys. James Worthy was soooooo steady. A sad day for all. Watched the tributes for a while, then it got to be too much. RIP Mamba!

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  5. Bear said it. A lot to process. If you live long enough you put together a reel of events like this. We all remember where we were when….

    Hard for me to pick a favorite Laker. I was working at a couple LA hospitals as a Nuclear Med Tech in the early ‘70’s, was friends with a few doctors and had access to a lot of tickets. I was quite the partier then, I’ll spare those details, but I spent some time at the Forum. I had a lot of favorite Lakers. West, Baylor and Goodrich were the trio I watched. My favorite player of that era was Pete Maravich. I read somewhere that West would have had a career average of over 30 points a game if the 3 point line had been in play. According to Bill Walton Maravich would have averaged over 50. Of course, defenses would have adjusted. Dale Brown allegedly charted every shot Maravich took and calculated he would have averaged 13 3 pointers per game. Both he and Magic were amazing to watch. To be honest the only organized basketball I played was intra-murals and some intense jungle ball at the Los Alamitos Naval Air Station gym, so I have limited knowledge of the game. I know football and baseball much better and follow those sports more closely.

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  6. The difference between Shaq and Puig is astronomical. Shaq was a three time league MVP and a four time finals MVP! He is one ☝️ f the 10 best players in NBA history. Yes he could have been even better if he was more disciplined and driven like Kobe. Puig was a one hit wonder and a clown. He never won anything!

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      1. Question is would he lick the ball before every free throw……………………….and would they give him a technical for doing it?

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      2. But in his prime, Shaq would run circles around Puig at the buffet line. I agree that Shaq just played well enough and squandered his talents. Also his ego wouldn’t allow for getting along with Kobe when they were on the Lakers. What a damn shame, those two together and Shaq with his head out of his ass, they would have rewritten the books on NBA Championships. The Black Mamba was a machine, Shaq was a talented goof off.

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  7. They both had huge ego’s and both wanted to be the alpha male. But Shaqwas clearly the MVP during those 3 title runs then he got lazy and soft which drove Kobe crazy. During his primeShaq was a beast and was a man playing amongst boys!

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  8. I have only been to one Laker game in my life. Back when they were playing at the Sports Arena right next to the coliseum. Been to one pro, and one college football game. USC-UCLA, and the Rams playing the Colts. Rams got slaughtered. I liked the Lakers because so many of their games were televised. And Chick Hearn was the Vin Scully of the NBA to me. Baseball was always my favorite. Never have met a pro basketball player, but more than a few MLB guys. A couple of years ago I was at a Quakes game in Rancho Cucamonga, and the bench coach on the opposing team was Joe Thurston, former Dodger. We talked a little after the game was over, and he autographed my program. Really nice guy. I guess I liked Shaq because he was bigger than life, and he does have a great personalty. He showed his human side yesterday. He was very upset at the loss of his team mate. One of the best episodes of Tanked was when they built Shaq a fish tank that looked like a diesel truck. Pretty cool. Dodgers still talking to the Sox about Betts. Marte to the D-Backs, Castellanos to the Reds.

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