Dodgers: Why Tony Gonsolin Needs to Start Full-Time in 2022

The Dodgers starting rotation is far from a complete product. Julio Urías and Walker Buehler headline the group, but the final three spots are not clearly defined at the moment. Clayton Kershaw is a free agent. Trevor Bauer may or may not be suspended. Dustin May is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Andrew Heaney is a dart-throw, at best. All of this leads to obvious conclusion. 2022 needs to be the year that Tony Gonsolin is made a full-time starter.

LA’s thin-rotation has been constantly critiqued, as it should be. That being said, Gonsolin seems to be somewhat overlooked when it comes to analysts parsing through the Dodgers potential starters.

The Athletic’s Keith Law commented that Gonsolin could be a valuable piece of the rotation for the Dodgers this coming season this week.

“Even a guy like Tony Gonsolin could be a difference maker in the backend of the rotation.”

Jomboy Media’s Trevor Plouffe wondered aloud why Tony Gonsolin is being discounted when it comes to the LA rotation discussion.

“Where’s Gonsolin in all of this? I saw him, as we talked about, throwing the ball very well.” 

Gonsolin pitched in only 15 games in 2021 due to recurring shoulder inflammation. If he can stay healthy, Gonsolin could be a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher. In 2020, he finished fourth in NL rookie of the year voting – the talent is there. 

For his career, the Cat Man owns a 2.55 ERA as a starter. As a reliever, his ERA is 4.43. This writer only manages a fantasy baseball team, but it might be a good idea for the Dodgers to solely use Gonsolin as a starter?

About 15% of his career innings pitched have come as a reliever. The Dodgers need to drive that percentage down as much as possible in 2022. 

He’s clearly more effective as a starting pitcher. 

The righty threw more than 80 pitches in just three of his 13 starts last season.

Now, it’s understandable that LA limited Gonsolin’s workload and used him in relief considering his shoulder issues, but it’s time to take the governor off.

The Dodgers need to let the 27-year-old show what he can do with ample runway.  

Even if the Dodgers re-sign Kershaw and sign another veteran starter, this has to be the year that Gonsolin is a rotation mainstay. 

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Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.


  1. Assuming he is healthy, give him a meaningful chance to start. #4 behind Kershaw as #3….

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