Dodgers’ 2020 season grades: Dustin May
By Sean Kaufman
It seems as if Dustin May will be a future star for the Dodgers.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Dustin May built off a solid debut 2019 campaign with his 2020 effort. The lanky fireballer made his first career Opening Day start following a last-minute back injury to Clayton Kershaw, and remained a mainstay in the rotation for the majority of the season.
May made 12 appearances (10 starts), going 3-1 and posting an impressive 2.57 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 44 strikeouts (in 56 innings). He bounced in and out of the rotation with varying degrees of success, but it was clear that manager Dave Roberts trusted the young right-hander to get big outs when it counted.
We might think of high octane nastiness when we think of May, but his control is very developed for a pitcher of his age. His walk rate actually more than doubled from his rookie season, but only to 7.5%, which puts him in the 69th percentile across the league.
We also might associate May’s arsenal with gaudy strikeout numbers, but this also isn’t the case, as his strikeout percentage and whiff rate are well below average. Although the immense armside run he generates will occasionally make batters look amateurish (@Manny Machado), his sinker actually stays in the zone longer than a traditional four-seamer. May’s ground ball rate is a healthy 54.6% due in no small part to his prodigious sinker usage (51.4%) and the elite horizontal movement he generates (2.7 inches above average).
I’m giving May an A- for his 2020 effort. Although we’ve only seen him for 90.2 regular season innings over the past two seasons, he’s made a name for himself as one of the game’s best young arms. May became the Dodgers’ youngest Opening Day starter since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, and looked like a more experienced pitcher than his age for most of the season.
I think the strikeouts will come along as he further develops his repertoire and finds himself as a pitcher, but even if they don’t, May has established himself as an effective ground ball specialist with one of the nastiest sinkers in baseball.