Why Tony Gonsolin Didn’t Make the Dodgers Playoff Roster

When the Dodgers announced their roster for the NLDS, it was as expected; yet many people are upset right-handed Tony Gonsolin was left off the team.

The final bullpen spots likely came down to Gonsolin, fellow rookie Dustin May, left-hander Caleb Ferguson, and right-hander Ross Stripling. The Dodgers elected to go with May and Stripling to fill out their pen.


With Rich Hill available out of the pen early in the NLDS, along with Julio Urias and Adam Kolarek, the Dodgers weren’t in need of another southpaw. This made Ferguson an easy choice to be left off.

Since the day of May’s debut, the Dodgers have been grooming him to be a high leverage reliever for them. His first few appearances out of the bullpen were less than ideal — including a line drive to the head — but he has turned it around recently. In Sept., May threw 10 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits with 15 strikeouts and one walk. He has the potential to be a relief ace for them in Oct., there would’ve been no defense for not including him.

The choice causing the most controversy is Stripling over Gonsolin.

With Stripling, Roberts announced he would be on the postseason roster multiple times in the past few weeks. He also pitched well in Sept., throwing 14 innings with a 2.57 ERA, 17 strikeouts and a .246 wOBA against. It was a continuation of his solid season where he pitched 90 2/3 innings with a 3.57 ERA. He isn’t the most exciting option but he has proven he can get the job done.

As for Gonsolin, he has done nothing but impresses since his debut. In 40 innings, he holds a 2.93 ERA with 37 strikeouts and 15 walks. In 12 Sept. innings, Gonsolin allowed four runs on five hits with 15 strikeouts. He flashed the stuff that made him one of the Dodgers’ highest-ranked prospects. Gonsolin would have made the team almost any other season.

So why did the Dodgers chose Stripling over May? By the numbers, Stripling was the better pitcher.

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As you can see, Stripling struck out more hitters, walked fewer hitters and posted the lower hard-hit percentage. He also has more experience and a longer track record of being a good pitcher. That doesn’t matter much in Oct., but it is something to consider.

The deciding factor likely came down to their pitch mixes. Stripling’s out pitch is his curveball while Gonsolin relies on his splitter. This season, the Nationals were the fifth-best team in baseball against splitters, posting a .303 wOBA against them. Against curveballs, they were ranked 17th with a .274 wOBA.

The argument for Gonsolin is his stuff is among the best on the Dodgers’ staff. Elite stuff tends to play up in Oct. more than it does in the regular season and their numbers were close enough where taking the guy with the elite pitch mix might have been the better choice.

The Dodgers could be keeping Gonsolin stretched out to be their fourth starter in case Hill gets injured again. His usage declined a lot when Hill came back and they never gave him a real chance to prove he can be a bullpen weapon, When Stripling came back from his injury, they were set on using him in a relief role. Having Gonsolin ready to start a game could prove to be valuable.

Personally, I still would’ve taken Gonsolin over Stripling because I believe he is the type of pitcher who could make a big impact in October. He has the mentality and the ability to be a high leverage arm. Stripling is pretty much a middle of the rotation starter or long reliever for this team. If he sees any high leverage innings, something has gone wrong.

So was the choice to go with Stripling over Gonsolin the right one? Let us know in the comments below.

Blake Williams

I graduated with an Associate's Degree in Journalism from Los Angeles Pierce College and now I'm working towards my Bachelor's at Cal State University, Northridge. I'm currently the managing editor for the Roundup News and a writer for Dodgers Nation. Around the age of 12, I fell in love with baseball and in high school, I realized my best path to working in baseball was as a writer, so that's the path I followed. I also like to bring an analytics viewpoint to my work and I'm always willing to help someone understand them since so many people have done the same for me. Thanks for reading!


  1. I say no. I would have taken Gosolin. He has shown better aptitude to pitch against the elite aka the Yankees. I think it will be a mistake the Dodgers will regret.

  2. Gonsolin has better pitches and movement on his hard stuff that plays well in the playoffs. I would have kept Gonsolin.

  3. Leave it to incompetent Dave Roberts to keep making mistakes.
    Stripling will get hammered by the big boys. Has fastball doesn’t do enough to compliment his curve.
    Remember, pathetic, overweight Jed Gyorko (0 for a million) is on the roster while the much, much better Kyle Garlick was sent down by Roberts.

    And then there’s the very rusty Justin Tuner, who should’ve at least seen some playing time with that ankle that even he said was not bad at all.

    Roberts is a nice guy, has a very talented winning team in spite of his poor managing.
    But as we have seen, he always gets outmanaged when it’s all on the line.

    Let’s hope the Dodgers can absorb his blunders and win anyway.

  4. Consider that should Dodgers advance to the NLCS, they very well could put Gonsolin on that roster. Thje pressure to win it all and make better management decisions is huge. WSS. But again, I would much rather the Dodgers to fall short of getting to the WS instead of reaching the WS and losing it for a 3rd straight year ON THEIR HOME FIELD! Jed Gyorko was not put on the NLDS roster, but at the same time there is only room for 25 on the playoff roster so Garlick didn’t survive the numbers crunch so to speak and it was not due to any lack of ability. personally I like him (Garlick) because mainly he is a RHB with sock.

  5. For this specific series it was the right move as you could add him in the NLCS depending on who we play, you have to look at each opponent and base it on that.

  6. I think the mentality of respect that is shown past contributors/veterans weighed heavily in the decision. Come postseason time, you just can’t “diss” a veteran who’s still playing good because a rookie has shown some ability. Showing respect for veterans can lead to regret, however. Witness the fan moaning over
    veterans who get big contracts as a result of what they did and not what they can do.

  7. I would have taken Gonsolin over Hill who basically hasn’t pitched for half the season, and that showed tonight with all the walks.

  8. It is not wise to select Hill, Kolarek into the roster over Gonsolin and Ferguson. We should never select a starter who we is only expected to throw 3-4 innings. That would burn the depth of our relievers quickly in a series. Kolarek can only get 0-1 out each game and even we use him for 5 straight games, it adds up to only 5 outs, this just adds the loads on other relievers and lower their quality per outing. For relievers, we need anyone can throw 1-2 innings and have solid strikeout abilities. For starts, he needs to have high good potential to pitch into 6th inning, so that we can always have a fresh strong bullpen of relievers in each game whenver needed.

  9. Managing, managing, managing along with hits and numbers on the board. Robert’s has made some managing mistakes from keeping Rookie players on the roster and sending down veteran players. Benching great veteran players over Rookies. This is unheard of. Unless a Rookie is turning some fantastic stats why are veterans sitting on the bench. Roberts may carving out his demise. It’s all troubling. To make these mistakes in the playoffs.

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