After hearing about Dustin May for a few years as one of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ best pitching prospect, the red-headed, flame-throwing righty finally made his MLB debut in 2019 and did not disappoint.
At just 22 years old, May is representative of everything the Dodgers have become of late: an elite prospect-developing organization that is pumping out more difference makers than it knows what to do with.
In 14 games as a rookie this season, May posted a 3.63 ERA — a number that FIP (2.90) suggests may have been a bit unlucky — across four starts and 10 relief appearances. Part of the reason for his success was his ability to limit baserunners (1.09 WHIP) while striking out nearly a batter per inning (8.30 K/9).
In the postseason, May made two appearances (3.1 IP) and allowed three hits and one earned run.
On the whole, the numbers listed above don’t jump off the page until you remember that the kid turned 22 in September and was making his Major League debut in the midst of a chase for the World Series.
While May’s debut could certainly qualify, it was his second start that symbolized what the future might look like. On Aug. 7th, the Dodgers faced off against the St. Louis Cardinals and May pitched them to a 2-1 victory behind a two-run walk-off single from Russell Martin.
In his second career start, May threw 5.2 innings, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out seven. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the win (he’d have to wait one more start for his first career victory), but for a 21-year-old it wasn’t too shabby.
Runner up for this spot was a stretch of games running from Sept. 7-29. May made eight relief appearances (10 IP) and allowed zero runs and just five hits. He also posted a 14:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio during that span.
May’s name has come up in trade negotiations thus far, but it can likely be presumed he and Gavin Lux are safe bets to be Dodgers come next season. May has already flashed front-of-the-rotation potential, and the thought of pairing him with Walker Buehler for the next decade has to be taken seriously.
The one question for May is what his role will look like to begin the season. Barring any injuries, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him begin the season in the Minor, preserving his arm for a stretch run with the Dodgers.
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