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2022 Dodgers in review: Tony Gonsolin

Career bests in ERA, wins, and strikeouts, and a first All-Star team, but a forearm strain threw a wrench into things

Dodgers vs Padres in Los Angeles, CA.

Tony Gonsolin had the best year of his career, a magnificent campaign that was derailed by a late injury and another postseason disappointment.

Outside of the lack of being built up like just about every pitcher after the lockout to open the season, Gonsolin came out of the gate strong. He allowed four runs in four starts in April, six runs in five starts in May, and four runs in five starts in June. That’s a perfect recipe for an 11-0 start with a 1.62 ERA when he was named to his first All-Star team on July 10.

Gonsolin was a players selection to the midsummer classic, a sign of respect from a group that had trouble hitting the right-hander for well over three months.

What worked for Gonsolin were his splitter and slider, which accounted for nearly half (49 percent) of his pitches. Opposing batters hit just .122 with a paltry .200 slugging percentage in at-bats that ended on either of those pitches. The splitter and slider finished off 89 of Gonsolin’s 119 strikeouts on the season.

They also helped him to be more efficient and, for the first time over an extended period in his career, last deeper into games. Gonsolin lasted at least six innings in six consecutive starts in May and June, one more than his total over his first three seasons.

After a brief blip in July, allowing 12 runs in 16 innings over three starts, Gonsolin recovered to allow four runs in four August starts.

Gonsolin was leading the National League with a 2.10 ERA when he landed on the injured list on August 29. Both Gonsolin and the team were publicly hopeful he would miss only two starts with a right forearm strain, but instead it derailed the rest of his season, missing over a month.

Gonsolin made one minor league rehab start, two innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City on September 27, then pitched two innings for the Dodgers in the final series of the season. Both starts featured Gonsolin jogging down to the bullpen to pitch another inning after his game was over, a spring training practice to build up arm strength, only this time it was to prepare for the playoffs.

The long layoff afforded Gonsolin another chance to stretch out, pitching a simulated game prior to the NLDS, but that was it.

Tony Gonsolin innings pitched

Year Majors Minors Postseason Total
Year Majors Minors Postseason Total
2016 31.0 5.0 36.0
2017 70.0 0.7 70.7
2018 128.0 11.7 139.7
2019 40.0 41.3 81.3
2020 46.7 9.3 56.0
2021 55.7 12.7 4.0 72.3
2022 130.3 2.0 1.3 133.7

Game 3 of the Division Series against the Padres got thrown onto the growing pile of underwhelming postseason appearances for Gonsolin, who would probably kill for a normal run up to October at this point.

In 2020, Gonsolin was the fourth starter on a team that swept through the first two rounds, so Gonsolin went 16 days between games before his first playoff start. In 2021, shoulder inflammation required two long injured list stints, and he was limited to relief duty in October. This year, Gonsolin faced nine batters in Game 3 of the NLDS, his second major league start over the previous seven weeks, and allowed five of them to reach. It was a miracle he only allowed one run in his four-out affair.

Gonsolin’s 130⅓ innings in the majors this season were by far his career high. For a while it looked like he would smash his professional innings high, but thanks to the late injury he didn’t quite get to his 2018 total. That year, Gonsolin pitched 139⅔ innings between High-A Rancho Cucamonga, Double-A Tulsa, and the playoffs. This year, between the majors, minor league rehab, and the postseason, Gonsolin totaled 133⅔ innings, which was still more than his previous two year combined.

In all, Gonsolin’s season was superb, and there’s a lot to like going forward. But the ending was unfortunate and putrid, and resembled an M. Night Shyamalan movie instead of a storybook baseball ending.

2022 particulars

Age: 28

Stats: 16-1, 2.41 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 3.12 xERA, 130⅓ innings, 119 K, 35 BB

Salary: $720,000

Game of the year

Gonsolin on August 17 in Milwaukee pitched seven scoreless innings to beat the Brewers, striking out eight. Gonsolin retired his first nine batters faced, allowed only two hits and a walk in one of his seven scoreless starts of the season.

Roster status

Gonsolin has two years, 152 days of major league service time and is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time, as a Super Two. Matt Swartz’s projection at MLB Trade Rumors has Gonsolin earning $3.5 million in 2023.

He has one option year remaining, having used options in 2019 and 2020.