On Monday, 2022 All-Star starter Tony Gonsolin rolled his ankle and sustained a sprain. In the days since, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has provided updates on Gonsolin. Roberts has noted that the X-Rays on Gonsolin’s ankle are negative but he still struggles to put weight on that leg and his Opening Day status is unclear.
Gonsolin was set to be a key part of the starting rotation, so even if he only misses some regular season time, there will have to be a replacement made. Luckily, the Dodgers have plenty of starting pitching depth to choose from.
Ryan Pepiot is the most likely candidate to take the spot. The Dodgers’ number six prospect on MLB Pipeline, the 25-year-old made nine MLB appearances last year with a 3.47 ERA. He’s made three starts this spring and posted a 1.50 ERA and fantastic 9.00 K/BB rate. Limiting walks is huge for Pepiot, who’s main knock as a prospect is his tendency to issue free passes. His K/BB rate in the majors last year was only 1.56, walking nearly seven batters per nine.
The other main option to step into the rotation is Michael Grove, who has also looked great this spring. Grove is the Dodgers’ number 24 prospect on Pipeline and made seven MLB appearances last season. Just like Pepiot, he has posted a 1.50 ERA through his first three spring training starts. Grove’s 4.60 ERA in the majors last year was lackluster, but he seems to have unlocked something this spring.
Top prospects Gavin Stone and Bobby Miller are almost certainly going to be starting the year in Triple-A, so they won’t be the solution here. Both are expected to debut in 2023, but that will come in the mid-to-late part of the season.
If Gonsolin does begin the year on the IL, he shouldn’t be there for too long. That time will be a good opportunity for Pepiot, Grove, or maybe a wild card option to get some early major league time before going back to the minors. Gonsolin’s ankle injury isn’t ideal, but the Dodgers have plenty of quality players ready to step up for the time being.