With one of the more balanced rosters in all of baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers cruised to a franchise-best 106 wins during the 2019 season, receiving contributions from a blend of stars, veterans and other young talent.
L.A. was the beneficiary of a strong farm system, seeing over a half-dozen players immediately shine upon being called up to the Majors. Among the standouts include Gavin Lux and Will Smith on the position-player side, while Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May bolstered the pitching staff as well.
While most of the talk this offseason has centered around potential moves the Dodgers could make before Opening Day, president and CEO Stan Kasten explained he is most excited over the progression of the young talent that was on display throughout the 2019 season, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“One thing that I think has been under appreciated is we had seven kids get to the Majors last season and make a real contribution. Well, all those kids are going to be better next year, or more experienced. So we’re really interested in seeing their progress and then of course if we can fill in with a star or midlevel player, we’d always look to do that.”
A total of 10 first-year players and other rookies appeared in a game for the Dodgers during the 2019 season, with some faring better than the others.
Lux put up historic numbers across two Minor League affiliates before receiving his first MLB promotion in September. He appeared in 23 regular season games and earned a spot on the Dodgers’ National League Division Series.
The 21-year-old started in three of the five contests at second base, most notably becoming the first player in franchise history to hit a home run in his first postseason at-bat.
The aforementioned Smith also made a name for himself and was eventually installed as the Dodgers’ everyday catcher in July. Over 54 games, he hit a stellar .253/.337/.571 with nine doubles, 15 home runs and 42 RBI.
Gonsolin posted an excellent 2.93 ERA in 11 games (six starts) while May pitched his way to a spot on the Dodgers’ NLDS roster. He allowed just one run in 3.1 innings of work against the Washington Nationals, yielding four baserunners over two appearances.
There were also impressive showings by the likes of Matt Beaty, Kyle Garlick and Alex Verdugo, among others.
Kasten additionally noted that he is not preoccupied with the Dodgers’ “winning” the offseason, but rather ensuring the organization can sustain its success for many years to come.
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