A few days ago Mark suggested a trade in his column. The trade included a few Dodger prospects for right-handed reliever Raisel Iglesias of the Cincinnati Reds. Iglesias would be a valuable acquisition as the 28-year-old has had two consecutive very successful years with the Reds. Although I tend to be overly-protective of Dodger minor leaguers, I thought it might indeed be a good trade with one exception. Mark included Dustin May. I agree with AC that Dustin is perhaps the next Dodger “untouchable” among the minor league ranks.
The young right-hander has become somewhat known for his flowing red hair streaming out from under the back of his hat. As a result he has been likened to right-hander Noah Syndergaard of the New York Mets and as mentioned by TD, has gained a nickname of “Gingergaard”. Eric Vrsalovich of Dodger Low-Down has alternately referred to May as “Ginger Thor”. The young right-hander seemed to like that moniker suggesting Thor couldn’t be beaten. His breaking pitch is already a hammer.May was selected by the Dodgers in the third round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Northwest High School in Justin, Texas. He had committed to Texas Tech but debuted with the Arizona League Dodgers on July 6, 2016. With the AZL squad he posted a 3.86 ERA along with 34 strikeouts and four walks.
He began the 2017 season with the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League. He was assigned a full workload and over 23 starts with the Loons posted a 3.88 ERA along with 113 strikeouts in 123 innings pitched. He walked but 26. As a 19-year-old he was selected as a Mid-Season All-Star in the Midwest League.
He capped off his first full season with 11 innings pitched in the hitter friendly California League in which he allowed one earned run, walked one and struck out 15.
Besides his flowing mane, May is also noticeable by his high leg kick, perhaps the highest in the Dodgers entire system. His 6’6”/180-pound frame means he has relatively long legs. He uses the leg kick to help him get comfortable and gain momentum as he strides toward the plate. Further to that, he feels it helps to distract the batter. Basically he just morphed into the higher kick as a comfort technique and in his words,” It stands out more. A lot of people don’t have it”.
According to May his best pitch is his slider. It has become his out pitch step up by his fastball which reaches the mid-nineties. His plan for the remainder of spring training and the upcoming season is to work on consistency and as he puts it, “…landing his breaking ball and change up over the plate”.
He now ranked as the Dodgers 11th overall prospect on MLB Pipeline Prospect Watch. His Pipeline report credits him with another tangible: “May boosted his 2016 Draft stock by recording some of the highest spin rates at the World Wood Bat Association World Championships in the fall before his senior year”
An adjustment the Dodgers have made with May had him shift from a four-seam fastball to a two-seamer, while generating a lot of groundouts. Additionally they are working on a hard curve as his slider and curveball have little differentiation and that too should induce more ground balls.
Besides his physical stature, his developing pitching arsenal and his unique delivery, Dustin May has another quality that many young players often have to work for some time to develop. He came ready equipped with a quiet confidence. He is not afraid to tackle new challenges and in fact welcomes them. During his time with the Loons he had three starts that were less than memorable. On each occasion he came back in his next start with good outings, recording two wins while allowing just four runs over 16 innings.
Ginger Thor, a.k.a Gingergaard, most likely will begin his third professional season with the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes before moving on to the AA Tulsa Drillers at some point in the 2018 season.