Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Ryan Pepiot in the third round (102nd overall) of the 2019 MLB Draft and since then he has risen through the prospect ranks, which has set him up to potentially an impact for the Major League club in 2022.
Pepiot has a plus-fastball and solid curveball, but his carrying pitch has been a changeup, which many evaluators rank as an 80-grade pitch, or a 70 on the low side, on the 20-80 scouting scale.
An 80-grade is given to players who have a skill that would make place them among the best of the best. For example, an 80-grade skill is Aroldis Champan’s fastball, Aaron Judge’s power, Trea Turner’s speed and Matt Chapman’s defense.
Although it can take years of practice to develop a skill that great, Pepiot’s changeup is a relatively new pitch for him. The 24-year-old developed it following his freshman season in college by just throwing with different grips to see if anything worked for him, he told Bill Plunkett for Baseball America:
“I kind of found the grip I have now that I liked. I worked on that all offseason into the fall and just continuously refined it as time has gone on.” That grip is “a circle-change off of basically the same grip as my fastball so it comes out with the same spin out of my hand as my fastball,” he said.
In 2021, Pepiot pitched well for Double-A Tulsa and earned a promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Manager Dave Roberts said during the season it was also a possibility for Pepiot to receive another promotion to help the Dodgers.
However, Pepiot struggled in 41.2 innings pitched at Triple-A and never received a promotion to the Majors.
Despite his brief struggles, Pepiot remains an exciting pitcher within the Dodgers farm system and should end up making his debut at some point this year.
Pepiot has a chance to be a very good starting pitcher if he can improve control, which is his main issue right now. But if not, his floor seems to be that of a high-leverage relief pitcher.
Pepiot ranked among Dodgers top prospects by Keith Law
The Athletic’s Keith Law released his list of the Dodgers top-20 prospects and it was unsurprisingly headlined by catcher Diego Cartaya.
Pepiot was ranked seventh on his list and also earned an honorable mention as a prospect who just missed making Law’s top-100 MLB prospect list.
Law noted Pepiot is ready for a relief role and should become at least a backend starter whose upside is currently being held back by his lack of command.
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