Friday, August 02, 2019

Welcome to the Blue, Dustin May!

When your prospects are too good to trade there's only one reasonable solution.

You call them up!

As you surely know by now, the power righty at Triple-A Oklahoma City, often bandied about as a trade target by other teams, will be called up to make his Major League debut later tonight. His name is Dustin May, and he just may show why we didn't need no stinkin' trade. Per Mark Polishuk at MLB Trade Rumors:
May boasts a three-pitch arsenal that includes a two-seam fastball that can touch 97mph, a cutter that reaches the low-90s, and an impressive curveball.  On the 20-80 scouting scale, ranks all three pitches with at least a 60-grade, topped off with a 65-grade fastball.  May throws a lot of strikes, and doesn’t allow many walks or home runs.  While his 27 1/3 innings in Triple-A is a small sample size, May didn’t allow a single homer during his brief stint in the very hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Dustin May is a tall drink of water. He's 21-years old, stands 6' 6" tall, throws right and can reasonably be compared to Noah Syndergaard. In fact, he has earned the nickname 'Gingergaard' because of his flowing red locks and a pitching arsenal similar to the Mets starter. BTW, you can follow Dustin on twitter here: @d_maydabeast and Instagram here: @d_maydabeast.

He currently ranks No. 13 on Keith Law's list of top midseason prospects and is ranked 35th in MLB Pipeline. Below is MLB's prospect report:
Scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 60 | Cutter: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55 

May stood out with some of the highest spin rates at the World Wood Bat Association World Championships in October 2015, setting the stage for going in the third round and signing for an above-slot $997,500 the following June. Within two years, he had developed into the Dodgers' best pitching prospect and they refused to part with him when the Orioles targeted him during Manny Machado trade talks. He advanced to Double-A at age 20 and thrived there, winning the clinching game of the Texas League playoffs. 
Los Angeles has had May switch from a four-seam fastball to a two-seamer, which jumped 3 mph last season to sit at 92-97 mph with groundball-inducing run and sink. After he threw a curveball and slider that tended to blend together, the Dodgers had him concentrate on the curve, which has become a hard-breaking weapon that also creates groundouts. He added a cutter in 2018 and it has become equally as devastating while reaching the low 90s. 
May also has a changeup, and while it's raw and gets too firm at times, he shows enough aptitude that it should become an average fourth offering. He has good body control for a young pitcher with a lanky, long-limbed frame, pounding the strike zone despite a slingy arm action. He also stands out for his mound presence and feel for pitching, which enhance his chances of becoming a No. 3 starter.
Below is a list of other articles and video featuring Dustin May:
Beyond being a part of May’s signing process, I also served as one of his coaches – first during Fall Instructional League in 2016, and then again at the end of the 2017 season in his brief but impressive stint in the Cal League. I vividly remember having a conversation with him during instructs after a two-inning outing. He was told to only throw fastballs and changeups during his second inning of work in order to gain reps throwing the changeup, which was developmentally behind his breaking ball. May threw a total of 24 pitches in his two innings – 12 fastballs, 12 changeups. After the outing, he was asked if he intentionally threw the exact same number of each pitch, and if he was aware he could have utilized his breaking ball in his first inning of work. His response was succinct. He explained that he didn’t know it was an exact 50-50 usage split, but that he’d known he could use the breaking ball and decided not to. When asked for his rationale, he said he knew he needed a changeup to get big league hitters out. The coaches who observed this discussion nodded in approval. It’s rare for a teenager to possess the sort of foresight and maturity present in May’s response, one that suggests not only an awareness of what the exercise is intended to achieve in the moment, but also of the purpose it is meant to serve years down the road. It was then that I fully realized that May’s mental makeup would be a strength as his professional career continued.
The Dodgers love his nerve and his desire in addition to, of course, how often he gets people out. He’s committed to that and otherwise spends his time watching “Dexter,” the television show, and not just occasionally.
“In the down times?” May said. “I’m a huge TV and movie watcher. I spend a lot of time doing that. Once I’m out of the field I kind of take my focus away from it and focus on the things out of the field and life and stuff like that. I try to focus on small things and not let the big things get too big. 
“Right now I am in the middle of Dexter for the fifth time.”
But, ultimately, the Times notes, the Dodgers envision May - and fellow pitching prospect Tony Gonsolin - as potential bullpen options in October after they failed to acquire a top-tier reliever at the trade deadline.
"I think every opportunity is an audition for somebody who is a young player who hasn't had an opportunity to prove himself at this level," manager Dave Roberts said. "He's earned it. He's earned this opportunity to pitch here."
  • YouTube Video: Dustin May top pitcher on Dodgers' prospect list for 2019. 
  • Video: Dodgers prospect Dustin May talks about making his MLB debut on Friday against the Padres.
  • YouTube Video: Dustin May, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers via FanGraphs.
  • YouTube Video: Spring Chats - Dustin May - Dodgers Prospect, via Hot Stove Baseball Talk from February 2019.
In celebration of his promotion to LA I made a couple of fantasy custom baseball cards of him. Check them both out at the very top.

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