Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
On December 12, 2022, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Jake Pilarski to a Minor League contract in a roster move that flew under the radar.
A right-handed pitcher who attended The Citadel, Pilarksi went undrafted before he joined independent ball. In the independent league, he ended up posting a 5.00 ERA across 95.1 innings, but decided to make a change this past offseason.
Pilarski worked with Tread Athletics to add 5 mph to his fastball, which now sits in the triple digits, and earned him a contract from the Dodgers.
Now in Spring Training, Pilarski has caught the eye of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts as he suggested Pilarski could see time at the Major League level quickly, according to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:
“If he keeps pitching like this,” Roberts said, “he’s going to be on the fast track. I’m excited.”
Pilarski topped out at 101 mph on Monday night against the Colorado Rockies while striking out all three batters he faced. It is his only appearance in Spring Training, but it was an encouraging outing nonetheless.
The Dodgers bullpen is already crowded, and they are hoping to have multiple potential high-leverage relievers join them later in the season once they are healthy, which could make it hard for Pilarski to find a spot on the team.
Still, if the 24-year-old is going to consistently sit in the triple digits with a high strikeout rate, the Dodgers will need to make the room for him. There’s still a long way to go for Pilarksi to prove himself worthy of that, and with no Minor League experience previously he’ll need some opportunities to prepare himself.
The Dodgers don’t have many pitchers with the kind of pure upside that Pilarksi could provide, and triple-digit fastball can prove to be game-changing in the postseason, which is why the Dodgers may look to fast-track him through the Minor Leagues.
Daniel Hudson’s knee not responding well after pitching
Daniel Hudson is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season, and his road to recovery has been a rocky path. Hudson previously dealt with ankle tendinitis that slowed down his rehab and made him unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.
Now, his knee has not been responding well after pitching, which could keep him out longer than the club previously anticipated.
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