Next up on the Dodgers’ 2020 report card is Tony Gonsolin.
Tony Gonsolin was a pleasant surprise for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020, but he didn’t come out of nowhere. Gonsolin built off a solid 2019 showing and went into this season as one of the team’s top pitching prospects, but few would have predicted that the Catman would be one of the team’s most effective pitchers.
He finished the shortened 2020 season with a 2.31 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 46 strikeouts over 46.2 innings in nine games (eight starts). These numbers were impressive enough to garner a fourth-place finish in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, one spot ahead of flamethrowing teammate Dustin May. Baseball America selected Gonsolin as their Rookie of the Year across the entire MLB.
Although the 26-year-old right hander was still rookie eligible this season, he certainly didn’t pitch like one. Gonsolin issued only seven free passes, good for a microscopic 4.0% walk rate, which puts him in the league’s 95th percentile. The advanced metrics favor Gonsolin as well — his fastball spin rate (91st percentile), fastball velocity (81st percentile), and barrel percentage, xBA, and xwOBA (77th percentile) further bolstered his resume.
He also finished the year with an impressive 2.29 FIP. The sample size is small; Gonsolin only has 86.2 regular season innings at the major league level under his belt, but he appears to have the tools to remain a capable MLB starter. His fastball doesn’t sit at triple digits, nor does he feature a wipeout breaking ball, but he has a solid four-pitch mix with excellent control.
He struggled in the postseason, walking two more batters than he did in the regular season, but still pitched better than his 8.68 ERA indicated. The Dodgers trusted the rookie to toe the rubber for two World Series games, and although he only went three combined innings, he kept the team in the game on both occasions.
I’m giving Gonsolin an A- for his 2020 campaign. The postseason numbers don’t look brilliant, but the 26-year-old pitched very well when his number was called in the regular season. There was a lot of talk surrounding Gonsolin being included in potential trades last offseason, but it’s safe to say the Dodgers made the right choice hanging on to him.
Not bad for a guy who started the season at the alternate training site.