After seeing Dunning pitch one inning and strike out two in the Southern League All-Star game June 19, he left his next start with elbow soreness in the fourth inning on June 23 versus Montgomery. Last July, I had seen Dunning all the way up to 95 mph, but he was dialed back his ASG appearance, possibly (or not) an indicator of the elbow discomfort that has since sidelined him.
Dunning’s fastball was swing-and-miss in this outing sitting 92-to-93 mph, getting plus life across the zone, and enough tail to bring it back over the outside corner to righties. Dunning wasted no time pummeling the zone with the pitch and he moved it in and out effectively. He worked with an above-average, 78-to-80 mph curveball, throwing it with conviction and in the zone, and showing the look of a future-plus offering. He mixed one changeup at 80 mph that was straight and still developing.
Dunning showed the look of a high-floor, seventh-inning reliever based this look. If placed in such a role, his velo should take a jump, and with its tailing life, the it should be a plus pitch out of the pen. With a 55 curveball, he’s already at that floor. I haven’t seen him out of the rotation in 2018, and with his health status I may not. Dunning should and will be developed as a starter with the hope his change and command continue forward, and his leverage RP floor makes him a valuable asset for the rebuilding White Sox.