Dodgers pitcher Dustin May hasn’t thrown a pitch in the big leagues since May 1, 2021, when the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow snapped on a pitch in Milwaukee. May underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after the injury, and he has spent the past 15 months working to get back on the mound at Dodger Stadium.
As all that work comes close to fruition, the Dodgers are looking forward to having May available to stabilize a starting rotation that has simultaneously been excellent and the closest thing the Dodgers have to a weakness right now.
What opposing hitters might not be looking forward to, as noted by Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, is that May wasn’t content to come back as the same pitcher who posted a 2.53 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 21.1 innings in 2021 before his injury.
Nope. Sorry, hitters. In addition to a filthy 100-MPH sinker, an effective four-seamer, a newly emergent cutter, and one of the highest spin rate curveballs in baseball, Dustin May is adding a changeup.
As Dodgers director of minor-league pitching Rob Hill said:
“It was just something that he wanted to do. Because he was like, ‘I figured out all my other pitches now, this one has always eluded me.'”
Changeups are notoriously elusive pitches. Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher of his generation, and a changeup is his white whale that he’s never been able to catch. So there’s no guarantee that May’s changeup will materialize into anything more than just an occasional offering.
But with May’s “100-MPH bowling ball,” as his sinker has been described by Dodgers assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness, along with his assortment of other pitches, a changeup could be the pitch that vaults May into the discussion of baseball’s best pitchers.
The stuff is there, and there’s about to be even more stuff.
Dustin May: 98 mph ?
— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) August 4, 2022
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