April 29th, 2022 Scoreboard
- Triple A Oklahoma City 3, Sugarland 2
- Double A Tulsa 3, Corpus Christi 0
- High A Great Lakes 3, West Michigan 2
- Low A Rancho Cucamonga 5, Visalia 7
Ryan Pepiot continued upping the workload while pitching very effectively in his second go-round with Oklahoma City:
After this outing, Pepiot’s ERA is sitting at 1.66.
Regarding the slider, the much talked about (and necessary) third pitch to help round out Pepiot’s starter toolkit, he got whiffs on 5/13 swings, and it averaged 2676 RPM. For context, an average of 2676 would currently rank 5th in all of baseball among qualified pitchers. That little thing he worked on in the offseason has the potential of being a plus-plus offering, so continued heavy use of the pitch to keep refining command and shape is on the docket.
In 2021, Pepiot didn’t reach a pitch count of 86 until August 14th, so although he isn’t on the 40-man yet, he is basically ready to take on the workload that goes with a rotation spot right now.
Gavin Stone is cruising right along for Great Lakes:
Stone, who was mentioned on this very site as a prospect on the rise for 2022, retired the first 11 hitters he faced. Both the 5.0 innings and the 65 pitches are season highs for the former University of Central Arkansas Bear. (I regret to inform you that only the women’s teams at Central Arkansas are called the Sugar Bears, correcting this error from a previous Prospect Notes is crushing me.)
In 2021, Stone didn’t reach 65 pitches until May 28th, so, like Pepiot, the reins are coming off a bit earlier in the year.
Stone’s Great Lakes teammate, Eddys Leonard, is settling in, hitting what ended up being a game-winning homer:
For the season, Leonard is slashing .227/.350/.409, but over the last seven days, his line is .345/.361/.621. Perhaps not coincidentally, game-time temperatures in the time-frame prior were often high 30s/low 40s — today, it was a relatively balmy 62. The average temperature in April in Leonard’s Dominican Republic hometown, Santo Domingo, is 86, so a hiccup out of the gate (really, a brief adjustment period) isn’t anything concerning. He’ll hit.
Additionally, Leonard is continuing to spend time all over the field, having started games (in order of frequency) at shortstop, second, third, and center field. A Swiss Army knife with pop and OBP skills is a heck of a piece.
John Rooney is rolling right along for Tulsa:
The scoreless outing dropping Rooney’s ERA to 2.79, and the only hit he allowed was a bunt single.
Now, the pickoffs:
Walking five guys isn’t great, but erasing runners at a breakneck clip is one way to deal with it. With the pitch clock in place, and runners going wild, for one pitcher it’s nothing but a feeding frenzy.
Mark Washington had another dominant relief outing for Tulsa:
Washington was understandably pumped after the first K — he came on with runners on 2nd and 3rd, and he slammed the door emphatically.
Washington, who is 6’7, gets an angle on his slider that would be a unique look in a bullpen that’s heavy on sweepers from lower release points. Having a lot of effective pitch shapes out of differing release points in the bullpen is a big positive for a club keen on changing eye levels and matching up repertoires to the bat paths of the opposition.
Lastly, Jose Ramos continues to show impressive power:
Ramos’ OPS of 1.103 is second in the Cal League, only trailing his teammate, Damon Keith.
While his K% of 28.6% is a bit high, he has drawn walks at a solid clip (10.4%). The tools are undeniably loud (he also leads the Cal League with 3 triples), but when his promotion to High A inevitably comes, the more advanced pitching will be a test that may require some time for the Panamanian right fielder to overcome.