Dodgers: Dustin May could work his way into the postseason bullpen

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 07: Pitcher Dustin May #12 fo the National League fields a pop up hit by Nolan Jones #10 of the American League during third inning of the All-Stars Futures Game at Progressive Field on July 07, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The American and National League teams tied 2-2. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 07: Pitcher Dustin May #12 fo the National League fields a pop up hit by Nolan Jones #10 of the American League during third inning of the All-Stars Futures Game at Progressive Field on July 07, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The American and National League teams tied 2-2. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Dodgers’ top pitching prospect Dustin May will make his big league debut against the Padres tonight. His role by October could be much different.

Tonight at Dodger Stadium, Dustin May will make his Major League debut for the Dodgers.  May is the Dodgers’ number two prospect and their number one pitching prospect after the latest prospect rankings came out.  May is likely to get at least two starts as he tries to make a case for a postseason roster spot.

This season, Dustin May made fifteen starts for the Tulsa Drillers and posted a 3.74 ERA.  His last Double-A performance included a fourteen strikeout game.  In five starts at the AAA level, May’s strikeout rate dipped a tad but he went 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA.  With his stellar stuff, there really wasn’t anything left for him to prove in the minors.

Due to Rich Hill and Ross Stripling being on the IL, Dustin will make a couple of starts and then the Dodgers will go from there depending on how well he pitches.  Entering tonight’s start, May has pitched a total of 106 2/3 innings between AA Tulsa and AAA Oklahoma City.  Starting the last two months of the season would likely push him into an innings count the Dodgers would want to avoid this season.

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Dave Roberts hinted that Dustin May could shift into a relief role before the playoffs begin in October.  That is probably the best course of action for this season in order for the club to keep his innings at a reasonable limit while still getting a postseason impact from May.  The Dodgers could always shift Dustin to the bullpen in September to start prepping him for the postseason.

The Pirates were rumored to be asking for Dustin May as part of a package for Felipe Vazquez and the Dodgers smartly decided that was not happening.  In terms of stuff, May has filthy stuff himself and could emerge as an elite relief option for the postseason.  May throws in the upper 90’s and has a power sinker that averages 96 MPH.

For his secondary offerings, May has a cutter, changeup, and curveball that all have excellent movement.  Due to his high velocity and power sinker, Dustin has drawn comparisons to Mets’ pitcher Noah Syndergaard.  His nicknames include “ginger Thor” and “Gingergaard”.  Hopefully, after this season he will be known as a World Series champion.

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The final decision on May’s postseason role might be decided by the health of others like Rich Hill.  Hill has been one of the Dodgers’ most consistent starters over the last two World Series runs but he is not going to return until September.  If Rich can show enough in September he will likely be LA’s fourth playoff starter, but if he doesn’t then it could go to someone like May.