Dodgers Prospect Notes: Knack and Casparius set career highs, Rodriguez’s adjustment, Kopp is ridiculous, one huge dong

Luis Rodriguez. Photo by: Cody Bashore

May 20th, 2022 Scoreboard

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After a delayed start to his season, Landon Knack is pretty well settled in with Tulsa:

Knack picked up his first W of the season, as the bullpen slammed the door behind him.

The stretching out process for Knack has been incremental, but it closely resembles how he was ramped up last season; in 2021, his pitch counts went 42-48-51-59-62-70. In his three outings this season, it has been 53-65-71, and his last fastball of the night being 97 here is a great sign.

What wasn’t observed last season as how Knack progressed from this level, as he basically stayed at the high 60s to low 70s for the rest of the season. With the unfortunate injuries the big league pitching staff has suffered, along with the packed schedule, the question here is whether the emphasis will be to have more help from internal options in the near term, or to get him ramped up closer to 100 pitches as a fully-fledged big-league ready rotation arm.

As for Knack’s time in the Texas League, with 18 Ks and just three walks in his 10.0 innings for Tulsa, the early returns show that he might be a bit much for the level.

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Ben Casparius made some hitters look silly for Rancho:

https://twitter.com/jokeylocomotive/status/1527860393183350784

Casparius would go on to pick up his first W of the season.

While some of the other names from the 2021 class may have been drawing big headlines, Casparius, whom the Dodgers picked in the 5th round out of UCONN, is clearly worthy of attention. In his last five outings, spanning 19.2 innings, he has an ERA of 1.83, with 29 Ks and 8 walks.

Like Knack, Casparius might be a bit much for his current level as well.

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Luis Rodriguez continues to show promising opposite field power, especially for a 19-year-old:

Rodriguez added another single, and ended up going 3/5 with two RBI. All three of Rodriguez’s homers have been of the oppo variety. This is a significant development when part of his prospect write-up at MLB Pipeline is taken into consideration:

When Rodriguez signed, he projected as a hit-over-power center fielder with a line-drive, all-fields approach. He has gotten stronger and more aggressive since turning pro, looking to crush homers to his pull side with a longer right-handed swing while chasing too many pitches out of the strike zone and giving away too many at-bats. He needs to regain some discipline, get back to barreling balls more consistently and just let his pop come naturally. 

They also say that Rodriguez worked out with fellow Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera in the offseason. JD Martinez as well, but Cabrera is the pertinent one here, as something may have rubbed off:

That is not the swing of a prospect that has gone so pull-happy that he plummeted in offseason prospect rankings. It’s still a work in progress, to be sure, but there are definitive signs of improvement, and the results bear that out.

To whit: Rodriguez’s swinging strike rate in 2021 was an awful 38.0% in the Arizona Complex League. In 2022, this has dropped to 18.7%, and that’s against better competition, since he is a level higher, in the Cal League. To give his current swinging strike rate some context, Diego Cartaya, who is a year older, has a rate of 16.6% this season. Jose Ramos, who is a year and nine months older, has a rate of 17.2%. All three of these could stand to improve a significant amount, but what Rodriguez has done in such a short timeframe, at his young age, is eye-opening.

Rodriguez was one of the top three IFAs in the 2019 class, and though last season left a lot to be desired, it appears that he put in some quality work, and he is giving reason to be excited about his development going forward.

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At this point, what Ronan Kopp is doing is just preposterous:

He’s 19, 6’7, hucking 99, and missing bats at an industry leading pace. How in the world did this guy fall to the 12th round? I mean, thanks, everyone else in baseball? Jeez.

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Lastly, enjoy Imanol Vargas‘ mondo dong:

Enjoy your Saturday, folks!

About Josh Thomas