The Cat Man’s 2020 debut is taking over a start for a still healing Kershaw. Gonsolin checked in 2020 as the Dodger’s 6th overall prospect. He’s got a great RHP build at 6’3″, 205lbs. Tony is also 26, which is ancient for top prospects.
He was drafted in the 9th round of the 2016 draft. The same year the Dodgers grabbed Lux, May, Peters, Raley, and other top prospects. Still, he was the lowest draft position to produce value as of now. The best $2,500 signing bonus in recent Dodger memory.
So how is it that a top prospect in a top organization continues to sneak under the radar? Depth definitely has something to do with it.
- Before Pro Ball
- Minor League Performance
- Gonsolin Takes on The Show
- Gonsolins Potential
Before Pro Ball
Gonsolin had actually been a two way player throughout high school, in Vacaville, California, and college at St. Mary’s. Due to his raw athleticism he was actually very good at both, but trying to do it all kept him from excelling one way or the other. Still, his senior year of high school was a successful campaign going 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA. But it wasn’t enough as he went undrafted in 2012. Instead he went on to St. Mary’s, also in California.
He would stay a two way player throughout his college career playing all of the OF and any pitching role required of him. He actually even lead the team in BA his sophomore year hitting .308 with an .845 OPS. He also lead the team in saves his junior and senior year and would eventually get drafted by the Dodgers for next to nothing. Again though, he managed to be above average wherever he went, but never elite.
Minor League Performance
The Dodgers made the decision for Gonsolin finally. He IS A PITCHER. And it looks like they made the right call. Finally focusing on one position, Gonsolin began to show signs of serious potential.
His fastball at the beginning of his first pro year ranged between 88-92 mph. By the end of the year Gonsolin was touching 100 mph. Still, the Dodgers kept him in the pen and his first year was very average with 31 IP and a 3.77 ERA.
His next year was about the same, except he pitched 70 innings and showed a tick more in strikeout stuff. Still he would need to do better than a 3.86 ERA if he wanted to keep getting promoted. He spent pretty much the entire year in A+ Ranco Cucamonga. Plus it’s hard to get noticed on a team that also showcased Caleb Ferguson, Dennis Santana, Walker Buehler, and Dustin May. Especially without a single start on the year.
But in 2018 Gonsolin was given a chance with a starting role for the Quakes. He didn’t miss his shot. In 17 starts he went 4-2 with a 2.69 ERA and 11.4 SO9. Enough for a promotion to start for AA Tulsa where he got even better. In 9 starts he went 6-0, had a 2.44 ERA, lowered his WHIP to 1.08, and kept a solid SO rate of 9.9 per 9IP. Enough to win Minor League Pitcher of the Year in a very crowded system.
In 2019 he started off in AAA and had a hot start. He had been coming off an injury himself, but was finally built up when Rich Hill hit the IL. He was finally getting his shot.
Gonsolin in The Show
Gonsolin made his debut on June 26th, 2019 against the Diamondbacks, the same team Gonsolin makes his 2020 debut against today.
Unfortunately for Gonsolin, it would be a start to forget going 4 innings allowing 4 earned runs. The Dodgers went on to lose 8-2. He went back down to AAA for a month after that.
But second time was the charm. Gonsolin played again on July 30th in Colorado. This time going 4 innings out of the pen and collecting his first Major League Save.
This, and circumstances at the time, earned Gonsolin 4 starts during August. He went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA & a minuscule 0.90 WHIP. And that was against the Cards, Braves, Yanks, and D-backs again. All above average lineups that year. He only got 1 more start after that but finished September with a 2-1 record and a 3.00 ERA.
Overall, Gonsolins first 40 innings in the majors saw him go 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA. He had about a strikeout an inning to go with a very solid 1.03 WHIP.
So it seems that Gonsolin isn’t getting the attention he deserves. He’s a lot like other top prospect Josiah Gray, in that because he’s a converted full time pitcher recently, we really don’t know how high Gonsolin’s ceiling really is. It should be interesting to see how Gonsolin performs in his now official Rookie Year.
As of right now scouts see Gonsolin as a middle of the rotation starter and that seems about right. His fastball gets good grades with it’s velocity and exceptional spin rate. However, his splitter is what really has the scouts’ mouths watering. It comes in fast almost touching 90 and drops off the face of the planet for hitters.
He also throws in a cutter/slider that surprisingly performed better than any of his other pitches. And finally he has a curve that is also spinning very well.
All in all, it seems almost ridiculous that someone this talented is just now making his debut. If he was on almost any other team, he would have probably been on an opening day roster if not rotation.
But unfortunately for Tony, if pitching doesn’t work out, being a Frank Zappa impersonator doesn’t pay the big bucks like it used to.
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