The Los Angeles Dodgers had eight rookies make their MLB debut during the 2019 season, and a ninth (Alex Verdugo) who built on his previous time up with the club. Of the players who reached the Majors for the first time, three were pitchers — including Tony Gonsolin.
During Spring Training, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he would not be surprised if Gonsolin and Dustin May both made their MLB debut this year. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman surmised those opportunities would potentially come in the bullpen.
Gonsolin was the organization’s Pitcher of the Year in 2018 and continued to impress in camp. His call-up came in June, as Gonsolin was tabbed for a spot start against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Gonsolin was the victim of some bad luck but generally viewed his debut as a learning experience. He was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City the following day and placed on the Minor League injured list with a hamstring strain one week later.
The Dodgers recalled Gonsolin at the end of July and by the middle of August he remained with the team for good. Gonsolin went 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 11 games (six starts) for the Dodgers. That was improved on his 2-4 mark and 4.35 ERA in 13 starts with Oklahoma City.
Despite auditioning as a relief pitcher down the stretch of the season, Gonsolin was left off the postseason roster.
Two of Gonsolin’s starts stand out more than others, with the first coming Aug. 5 against the St. Louis Cardinals. He allowed just two hits and collected seven strikeouts over six shutout innings in an 8-0 win at Dodger Stadium.
Nearly three weeks later the young righty went toe-to-toe against CC Sabathia, whom Gonsolin considers one of his idols. He only managed to pitch five innings but held the New York Yankees to one run and the Dodgers escaped with a 2-1 victory.
Although Gonsolin figures to again begin the season with Oklahoma City, he should receive opportunities with the Dodgers throughout the course of the year. Gonsolin’s role likely will be impacted by whether or not the team adds to their rotation during the offseason.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our live shows, and more!