One of the MLB's best young pitchers won't be back until next year.
Dustin May will undergo right elbow UCL reconstruction surgery on Tuesday, May 11 in Los Angeles.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 3, 2021
May exited a start early against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday, clearly displaying discomfort after throwing a pitch in the second inning. The 94 mph fastball was the slowest fastball he had thrown all year.
— Blake Harris (@BlakeHarrisTBLA) May 1, 2021
The news is a significant blow to the Dodgers, as May appeared to be in the early stages of a breakout season.
How do the Dodgers replace Dustin May?
Since his debut in 2019, May has garnered notice as a red-haired flamethrower with a demonic sinker capable of touching 100 mph. May was effective in 2019 and 2020 (2.98 ERA between the two seasons), but curiously had trouble getting the kind of strikeouts you need to become an MLB ace. That changed in 2021, as May improved his hard-breaking curveball and racked up 35 strikeouts in 23 innings.
That season will now end after five starts and a 2.74 ERA, and May likely won't be back until well into the 2022 season.
The loss of May also puts the Dodgers in a position many couldn't have imagined by the beginning of this month: short on starting pitching depth behind an elite top 4. The Dodgers left spring training with a rotation so stacked that David Price, a former Cy Young winner, and Tony Gonsolin, last year's Baseball America Rookie of the Year, were left on the sidelines.
Both Price and Gonsolin are now on the IL, however, and the loss of May will leave the Dodgers looking for a new fifth starter. MLB.com's Sarah Wexler notes the Dodgers won't need a fifth starter until May 18 thanks to off days, at which point pitching prospects Josiah Gray (the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect via MLB Pipeline) and Mitch White (No. 20) could be options.
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