Rancho Cucamonga, California —— Entering play on Thursday night, Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitching prospect Tony Gonsolin is 7-6 with a 3.90 ERA and five saves over 39 relief appearances split between the Low-A Great Lakes Loons and the California League‘s Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, with 83 strikeouts against 67 hits and 16 walks in 67.0 innings pitched in 2017. I observed the 23-year-old California native in his August 23 outing at home against Lake Elsinore; below is Baseball Census‘ full Tony Gonsolin scouting report, including video.
Tony Gonsolin Scouting Report — Video
Our video of Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitching prospect Tony Gonsolin shows his open-faced (third base side) pitching mechanics in that August 23 outing against the Lake Elsinore Storm, where he picked up the win in relief with two scoreless, hitless innings with three strikeouts:
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Tony Gonsolin Scouting Report — Notes
A college right-hander with a good frame upon which to add some weight, Tony Gonsolin sat 95-96 mph with his fastball on Wednesday night, made all the more impressive by his clean, easy arm action and the way the ball exploded late at the plate. He gets pretty good arm-side run with it, and some downward plane out of his high three-quarters arm angle that adds a wrinkle to his above-average velocity. That movement is more consistent when Gonsolin pitches down at the knees, though, and his fastball will flatten out considerably when left further up in the zone. Nevertheless, it’s his go-to piece out of the ‘pen and he likes to pitch off it and challenge hitters with the pitch.
He pairs the fastball with a tight 82-83 mph slider that, in my look last night, was phenomenal. It had very hard, late downward break and he spotted it well down in the zone and off the plate, especially when ahead in the count. His arm action on the slider is consistent with the fastball, too, and the sum total makes for tough pitch recognition out of his hand, as he has comparable effort with everything across his arsenal. Gonsolin should add a little more weight in time, and filling out might help him flash even more velocity, but sitting at 96 mph with a low-80s slider with hard late break isn’t anything to scoff at for this level and his short-term future.
Tony Gonsolin Scouting Report — Projection
Long term, however, Tony Gonsolin could use a tick or two more velocity as he reaches the upper minors and beyond, even with his good pitch life down in the zone. He has missed a lot of bats in 2017, and there is enough power in his profile to suggest he should have no problem continuing to do so in the years to come, but command will start to be more and more critical for the Los Angeles Dodgers prospect. While his control is well above-average, he’s allowed six home runs and 67 hits (.257 opponents’ batting average) in his 67 innings, making him too hittable at this point for me to be excited about a future in high-leverage late-inning relief. His stuff is lively and effective when he’s pinpoint down in the zone, but anything left even slightly up flattens out, and even at 96 mph, hitters will figure that out pretty quickly.
Because of that, I think Tony Gonsolin has a bullpen future as a seventh inning-type middle reliever who can certainly help a team with some high-leverage work, but is likely better tasked with lower leverage innings and well-managed outings away from a ninth inning role. Time will tell, though; if his command improves to get on par with his control, and his velocity sees a bump through inevitable physical growth over the next few seasons, Tony Gonsolin still might have a shot to make an impact with the Los Angeles Dodgers in high-leverage relief. He’s naturally effective enough at the knees that marked, nuanced command improvements would go a long way to push him to the big leagues in 2019.
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