Dodgers @ Pirates May 11, 2022: What to expect in Ryan Pepiot’s MLB debut

Ryan Pepiot.

After Andrew Heaney went on the injured list with a bum shoulder, I pondered about how the Dodgers could be close to turning to Ryan Pepiot for that spot in the rotation.

Tyler Anderson (tomorrow’s starter) stepped into Heaney’s spot and has done quite well. But the Dodgers need a starter for today, and Pepiot is set to make his MLB debut in just a matter of minutes.

Pepiot, 24, was the Dodgers’ 3rd-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. After a rough go in Triple-A to close last season (after a dominant showing in Double-A), he acclimated well to the Pacific Coast League. In six starts, he posted a 2.05 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 33 K%, 11 BB% and a .189 batting average against. Since being the 102nd pick in the draft, Pepiot has established himself as one of the best pitching prospects in the system. Josh and I both have Bobby Miller (No. 2 and 1) ranked ahead of him (5), but that’s more about Miller’s potential rather than Pepiot’s ability.

Coming out of college, he was primarily a fastball-changeup guy with a fringy breaking pitch.

#notascout

Since turning pro, the Dodgers have gotten him to increase his fastball velocity — he now sits in the 93-95 MPH range and tops out at 98 MPH. His changeup is Devin Williams-like and has 80-grade potential. That’s the showstopper. What has elevated him as a legitimate starting pitching prospect is the development of his breaking pitch. Call it a slider, call it a cutter — it has improved since he turned pro.

He now throws his slider with the same grip as Blake Treinen. It isn’t as good a pitch as Treinen’s (and probably never will be), but it has made him a much better bet to stick in the rotation. Here’s a look at his slider (second video).

Josh has been all over Pepiot this year. And the changeup is as good as advertised.

https://twitter.com/jokeylocomotive/status/1513257353243619328

We’ll see how long he sticks with the big club. This could just be an amuse-bouche or we could be sitting down for a full meal. Either way, this should be an interesting look at the righty. And, honestly, this is about the best he could hope for when it comes to an MLB debut — a struggling Pittsburgh team and not too far from his hometown of Indianapolis.

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Mookie Betts gets the day off after having his hitting streak snapped last night. Will Smith and Chris Taylor return to the lineup after Smith was dealing with a pectoral injury and Taylor with a knee injury. Somewhat surprisingly (day game after night game), Justin Turner is back in the lineup after his best game of the season last night (4-for-5, 3 doubles, 4 RBI). Big Daddy Edwin Rios gets the start at DH for the second straight day. He went hit a towering dong last night, as he is oft want to do. If the lineup could give Pepiot some run support in his debut, that’d be swell.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.