April 22, 2022 Scoreboard
- Triple A Oklahoma City 1, Sacramento 0
- Double A Tulsa 10, Springfield 7
- High A Great Lakes, Lake County PPD (Rainout)
- Rancho Cucamonga 11, Modesto 8
Things are coming together for Ryan Pepiot, who pitched 5.0 shutout innings en route to his first W of the season, and looked sharp in doing so:
Pepiot really got dialed in as the outing progressed. At one point, he struck out five consecutive hitters. Two key components of Pepiot’s development as a starting pitcher stood out in this outing:
- Improved fastball command
- Throwing a large amount of sliders, and the way he used the pitch
Pepiot dotted the fastball to both sides of the plate, and elevated it as well. While there were misses at times (he did walk three), improvement here isn’t an all or nothing proposition. Overall, execution is better than it was in his short time with Oklahoma City last summer, and the results bear that out.
Pepiot threw nearly as many sliders (20) as he did changeups (26), which is already a positive, as a reliable third offering is of paramount importance for him. As seen in the video above, Pepiot was able to bury the slider for whiffs. The K looking came after a fastball in the same initial lane:
While the intent may not have been to back door the pitch, three key components of deception are having tight release point distribution, having your pitches be able to at least initially track in the same lane/tunnel, and having spin similarity or mirroring. The first two are present, the third is unconfirmed, but something I will be watching for as more data becomes available.
Triple A is finishing school for a prospect as they ascend towards the major leagues, and an outing like this is a big positive. You love to see it.
Please make sure the sound is on when you watch this Andy Pages homer:
Andy Pages, at 21, is the 4th youngest hitter in the Texas League. It was an 0-2 count, and the pitcher had him right where he wanted him. Until, well. There’s thunder here.
Note: For those who have a subscription to The Athletic, this article about Andy Pages being one of a handful of the very best MLB: The Show players in the world is a fantastic read. He will break you down and grind you into dust. It’s a really fun piece, with some details about what he’s working on in the cage these days as well. Definitely recommend.
So, about that Maddux Bruns. The Dodgers were said to have rolled the dice on a pitcher who might have the best stuff and worst command in the entire 2021 draft. Welp.
He’s filling up the zone, attacking, and he even shook to the same pitch/location after missing a spot, and wanting to execute that pitch, picking up a K on the subsequent fastball. He’s looking like a lion out there.
As soon as I submitted the Top 30 prospect list, I had second thoughts. It was my first such list, I agonized over it, and still am. My omission of Ryan Ward has bugged me the most, and, well, he may end up making this quite the boondoggle:
Ward takes great ABs, and does not take ABs off. He was very strong for High A Great Lakes in 2021, posting a wRC+ 135. I knew this, and yet, here we are. Please, keep making me look terrible.
Lastly, as if there weren’t enough 6’7 relievers pumping 97, here’s Mark Washington:
Washington, whom the Dodgers drafted in the 25th round back in 2017 out of Lehigh University, is in his second stint with Tulsa, with 2021 being his first.
Pausing a sec to think back to that 2021 season, Washington’s outing that stands out the most for me came when Tulsa had a catfish noodling demonstration tank — the circumstances were highly minor leaguish, the uniforms were loud, and he rocked the lime green pants with élan:
Washington’s FB/SL/CH mix, height, velo, and arm angle, all combine to make a difficult situation for hitters. He should get a bump to Oklahoma City at some point.