Four players from the Los Angeles Dodgers made the initial All-Star Game roster to play in front of their home crowd in the Midsummer Classic. Tony Gonsolin, Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts and Trea Turner will enjoy the festivities while Will Smith and Freddie Freeman might end up making it eventually when players drop out from participating.
Gonsolin is the biggest surprise for the Dodgers, as he’s not just an All-Star-caliber pitcher this season, but is also the frontrunner for the National League Cy Young award. Gonsolin leads the bigs in ERA this season at 1.62 with an unreal 11-0 record.
This will be Kershaw’s ninth All-Star Game, and while he’s been the constant throughout the Dodgers’ success, there have been a lot of different pitchers to rep the Dodger Blue in the All-Star Game. In fact, Gonsolin continues quite a streak for the Dodgers — this is the fifth consecutive All-Star Game in which LA will send a pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw.
Tony Gonsolin is also the fourth first-time All-Star pitcher from the Dodgers in the last five ASGs
This streak dates back to 2017 (there was no All-Star Game in 2020) and features several breakout pitchers that enjoyed similar seasons to Gonsolin. This streak is just more proof that the Dodgers are perhaps the best team in baseball at developing starting pitching.
Alex Wood, 2017
Alex Wood kickstarted this All-Star Game trend for the Dodgers and this is the lone appearance of his MLB career. In what was his first of two stints with the team, Wood put it all together in 2017 and was legitimately one of the hardest left-handers to hit in the first half of the season.
Wood’s last start before the break was a seven-inning scoreless gem that lowered his season ERA to 1.67. Like Gonsolin, Wood was not even a guaranteed member of the rotation when the season started and worked his way into being a nearly unhittable lefty.
Wood’s second half was not as promising, as he finished the year with a 2.72 ERA, but that’s still the best ERA of his career.
Ross Stripling, 2018
The first-half breakout continued the following season with right-hander Ross Stripling. Like Wood and Gonsolin, Stripling was the odd-man-out in a healthy Dodgers rotation who was meant to be a long relief arm that would fill in and make spot starts.
Stripling threw six scoreless innings in his last start of the first half and entered the break with a 2.08 ERA. Like Wood, he started to regress in the second half, but still finished with a career-best 3.02 ERA.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, 2019
The breakout of all breakouts. Hyun-Jin Ryu had a promising rookie season in 2013 for the Dodgers that he followed up with a solid 2014. However, Ryu could not escape the injury bug after that. He made just one start in 2015 and 2016.
Ryu returned in 2017 and was solid for the Dodgers in 24 starts. He then suffered another injury setback in 2018 that forced him to miss the summer months. However, he still finished with a sub-2.00 ERA in 16 starts that season.
And that carried over into a career year for Ryu in 2019. The lefty finished the season with a league-best 2.32 ERA and second in National League Cy Young voting to Jacob deGrom. Ryu was better than deGrom in 2019, with deGrom only winning the award because he finished the year stronger than Ryu did.
Ryu had a 1.45 ERA as late as August. That’s how special he was. He was better than deGrom for 80% of the season but lost the award because of recency bias.
Walker Buehler, 2019 and 2021
Walker Buehler was another first-time All-Star for the Dodgers in 2019 and he continued the non-Kershaw streak in 2021 as the Dodgers’ only All-Star pitcher. It would have been cooler if someone like Julio Urías made it, but he was snubbed.
Buehler pitched at a Cy Young-level in 2021, but 2019 was truly his breakout season as a true ace. That being said, Buehler struggled a lot this season and is currently on the shelf with an arm injury. The hope is he returns late in the second half to help the Dodgers push forward for another World Series victory.
The Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Chicago Cubs in four games, further putting the NL Central club on tilt. Could Ian Happ head to LA, now?
And now we have Gonsolin, who is the fifth non-Kershaw Dodgers pitcher to make the Midsummer Classic in a row. With how things are going, Julio Urias has to be the best bet to get his first all-star nod next year, especially considering he probably should have been one in each of the last two years.