As things were progressing during Spring Training 1.0 earlier in the year, it seemed as if the Dodgers were planning on starting hard-throwing righty Dustin May at Triple-A Oklahoma City in its rotation, at least for the beginning of the season.
However, this time around, things will be different.
Back in February, the line of thinking was that management wanted to groom May strictly as a starter, believing it was his best value as a pitcher. As such, the coaching staff felt he should be a part of a normal rotation, getting regular, timely starts.
Obviously, since there will be no minor league baseball this season, having May in a regular, Triple-A rotation is impossible. Sure, most of the farmhands will be getting in work in some shape or form (simulated games galore), but the absence of a true competitive league could theoretically wreak havoc on a prospect’s development.
Plus, with active rosters being stretched to 30 players at the beginning of the season, one would think that May would be included, being that he’s certainly one of the most talented pitchers in the organization, coupled with the fact that there is no limit to the number of pitchers a team can carry.
Skipper Dave Roberts has already indicated the club plans on utilizing a five-man rotation to open the season. Several pitchers—including May, Ross Stripling and Tony Gonsolin—are in the running for the spot vacated by David Price, but even if May is not among the initial starting five, it might make sense to include the 22-year-old Texas native in the relief corps for the sake of staying active, unless the Dodgers want to keep him stretched out on standby in the event of an injury to somebody already in the rotation.
Regardless, as reported by Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Roberts certainly likes what he has been seeing from May so far during Summer Camp.
Gurnick also reported that May will continue to build his innings threshold.
In 2019, May went 6-5 with a 3.38 ERA and 110 punchouts over 106-2/3 innings of work between Double-A Tulsa and Oklahoma City before making his MLB debut in August. For the big league squad, he made 14 appearances, 10 of which came as a reliever. To the surprise of some pundits, he was selected to the NLDS roster against the Nationals and eventually made two more appearances out of the bullpen.
As stated by Roberts, May throws very hard. And he spins the ball extremely well. Last year, his arsenal of breaking pitches ranked him in the 99th percentile of all pitchers in the majors with regards to spin rate.
Here’s a look at the youngster’s arsenal:
Either way, as the Dodgers have been known to limit the innings of most of their young, budding pitchers in the past, this abbreviated 2020 campaign could allow the team to go full throttle with many arms on the staff.
Indeed, interesting times lie ahead as far as player personnel goes—if we actually make it through this strange, unprecedented season.