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Dustin May to undergo Tommy John surgery, miss rest of 2021 season

The Dodgers have lost one of their promising young starters to elbow surgery.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Dustin May pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers SP Dustin May will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and will miss the rest of the 2021 season. This is a huge blow to the Dodgers rotation despite May being the technical 5th starter. Los Angeles has been struggling this season with lofty expectations from being the defending champs. The Dodgers enter Monday’s series opener vs. the Chicago Cubs 17-12 and in second place in the NL West through the first month of the season.

May had been off to a pretty strong start to 2021. He was yanked after 1.2 innings on Saturday vs. the Milwaukee Brewers. On the season, May (1-1) will finish with a 2.74 ERA with 35 Ks over 23 IP. May was strong in limited innings in 2020 en route to helping the Dodgers win the World Series. Now, he’ll have to wait at least a year or so before taking the mound again. Most pitchers have been able to bounce back from TJ surgery, especially if it happens at an early age. May is just 23 years old, so he still has a bright future ahead of him.

May’s next start in the rotation would have been this Friday vs. the Los Angeles Angels. We don’t know who will take May’s spot in the rotation but we know who it might be. Jimmy Nelson or Dennis Santana could be stretched out to replace May in the short term. Nelson spent three seasons in the Brewers’ rotation not too long ago, so there’s experience there. Santana has less experience and would likely act as more of an opener if the Dodgers opt for bullpen days.

This shouldn’t move the needle much in the short term as far as Dodgers’ futures are concerned. L.A. will have plenty of time before now and the Fall to figure out a back-end starter, plus that spot won’t matter in the postseason anyway. The Dodgers are currently +325 to win the World Series and +160 to win the National League pennant. They are also an overwhelming favorite to win the NL West despite the standings being tight so far. There’s some value in the Padres at +300 and San Francisco Giants at +2000.

If you need to replace May in fantasy baseball, there are a few good options in shallow leagues. Giants SP Anthony DeSclafani is 66.3 percent owned on ESPN and is having a decent season so far with a 2.00 ERA, sub-1.00 WHIP and 33 Ks in 36 IP. Texas Rangers SP Kyle Gibson is right around 60 percent owned and, same deal, isn’t a bad stop-gap with some long-term value. He’s got similar numbers to DeSclafani, boasting a 2.16 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and really hasn’t missed a beat since a poor showing in his first start of the season.