Dodgers Spring Training: Dustin May Used Offseason To Improve Curveball & Changeup
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Dustin May during batting practice at Petco Park
Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Dustin May was among the notable Los Angeles Dodgers prospects who was included in the group of non-roster invitees to Spring Training. The right-hander went on to make his MLB debut and now is at Camelback Ranch as a member of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.

May was part of eight players who reached the Majors for the first time in his career last season, and one of nine rookies the Dodgers relied on throughout 2019. Although a starter by trade, the 22-year-old additionally pitched in relief.

May earned a spot in the Dodgers’ postseason bullpen and made two relief appearances during the National League Division Series. But he reported to Camelback Ranch on Thursday back in his starter’s role.

As he looks to earn the final spot in the Opening Day rotation, May is hopeful to benefit from an offseason spent working on improving the command of his offspeed pitches, via SportsNet LA:

“Just refining my curveball and getting the changeup in tune. I feel like those are going to be big weapons if I can put them in the zone and keep hitters off balance. I’m excited to see what the work this offseason has done.

“Just being able to mix speeds more and change directions; getting the changeup to go off the two-seam and cutter, and cutter to go off the curveball. If I can get those in the zone I feel like it’s going to be monumental, for sure.”

Upon joining the Dodgers from Triple-A Oklahoma City, May threw his fastball 57.2% of the time. His cutter had a 30.9% usage rate, curveball was 10.6% and changeup a mere 1.2%. The effectiveness of his secondary pitches largely dictated how efficient May was.

Like most young pitchers, he struggled at times to put batters away because of a limited and still-developing arsenal. Of course, even if May is able to consistently get over a third pitch, he may still very well face an uphill battle.

The Dodgers’ rotation figures to consist of locks in Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, David Price; president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman suggested Julio Urias can be included in the picture as well.

That would leave Tony Gonsolin, May, Jimmy Nelson and Alex Wood all vying for the final spot. When previously asked about his likely role, Wood candidly said he did not sign with the Dodgers to be a member of the bullpen.

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