Dustin May appeared to go from top prospect to burgeoning ace for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020. That may not actually be the case.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited about Dustin May‘s future. He appeared to take the first steps to become an ace for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, emerging as a key part of their rotation. Although he spent the postseason in the bullpen during their World Series run, the future certainly appears bright.
It is easy to see why from a statistical standpoint. May posted a 2.57 ERA and a 1.089 WHiP over his 56 innings, striking out 44 batters with 16 walks. Those gifs showing the incredible movement on his pitches make it seem as though there is far more to come.
A look deeper into the numbers paint a different picture. May far outperformed his FIP, as his ERA was 2.05 runs lower. His strikeouts per nine innings over the past two seasons are essentially on par with the likes of Wade Miley, Jason Vargas, and Jorge Lopez.
That does not necessarily mean that May is that type of pitcher. Masahiro Tanaka is directly above May in K/9, while Kyle Hendricks is just below. Both pitchers also have better command than May, but could show his actual ceiling.
While that may seem like a disappointing result, both Tanaka and Hendricks have emerged as solid pitchers in their own right. Neither pitcher may be an ace per se, but they are respectable second or third starters. Both pitchers can provide over 180 mostly worry free innings over the course of the year.
The Dodgers really do not need May to be more than that. They have plenty of arms on the horizon, and Walker Buehler may be the best fit as their next ace. Following him with a duo of May and Julio Urias, even if neither pitcher becomes a true ace, still gives Los Angeles an excellent trio of young arms.
Dustin May is more likely to be a solid second or third starter than a future ace. For the Los Angeles Dodgers, that is a perfectly acceptable outcome.