The Los Angeles Dodgers have gotten outstanding contributions from rookies this season, whether it be the superb defense and steady bat of Alex Verdugo, or the clutch heroics from Will Smith and Matt Beaty.
They are hoping that is going to continue on Friday night after calling up top pitching prospect Dustin May to make his MLB debut against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.
May, who was a third-round pick in the 2016 Draft, is a hard-throwing right-hander who has quickly worked his way through the Minor League ranks. He began the season with Double-A Tulsa before being promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
In 20 total starts between the two levels, the 21-year-old is 6-5 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with 110 strikeouts and 29 walks in 106.2 total innings.
In five starts with Oklahoma City, May was absolutely dominant, which is surprising considering the Pacific Coast League is very hitter-friendly. He went 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.10 WHIP while striking out 24 and walking nine in 27.1 innings in his short time in Triple-A before being called up.
It is unclear how long May’s stay in the big leagues will be, but he can certainly help his cause with a strong start against the Padres. May will have a familiar catcher behind the plate in Smith, who caught him in Oklahoma City.
Smith has been nothing short of remarkable in his time with the Dodgers this season. He hit a go-ahead grand slam to help lead the Dodgers to victory in the series opener against the Padres on Thursday night, which gives him 19 total RBI in his first 14 career games to set a franchise record.
The Padres send a left-hander to the mound in Eric Lauer, and he has fared extremely well against the Dodgers in the past. In five career starts against his National League West rivals, Lauer is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.
He hasn’t had as much success against the rest of the league though as in 20 games (19 starts) this season, the 24-year-old is 5-8 with a 4.52 ERA, 4.05 FIP and 1.40 WHIP. He has a total of 81 strikeouts and 31 walks in 99.2 innings.
With A.J. Pollock out of the lineup due to a minor groin injury, Tyler White slides into the leadoff spot, while Kristopher Negrón gets his first start with the team in center field. Both players have contributed since coming over in minor trades as White has reached base four times in 10 plate appearances and Negrón has homered twice while slugging .909 in three games.
Alex Verdugo also returns to the Dodgers lineup after missing Thursday night’s game due to a minor knee injury. He went 4-for-4 the last time he took the field on Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies.
1B: Tyler White
2B: Max Muncy
3B: Justin Turner
RF: Cody Bellinger
SS: Corey Seager
C: Will Smith
LF: Alex Verdugo
CF: Kristopher Negrón
P: Dustin May