So far this season, we have already seen 25 different pitchers appear for the Los Angeles Dodgers in some capacity — 26 if you count Hanser Alberto’s outing on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks. Last year, there were 39 pitchers to throw for the Dodgers, indicating that fans could be in store for even more new faces as the 2022 season progresses.
Without question, this year’s trade deadline will bring its usual hype as the summer months draw near. However, there’s been a lot of attention given to several prospects on the farm lately, as some of the organization’s top pitching prospects have already made their MLB debuts.
Over the last few years, we have seen arms like Mitch White, Andre Jackson and the departed Edwin Uceta given their chances without any overwhelming success. Sure, White and Jackson have shown signs of quality stuff — and there’s still time for them to emerge — but much of the franchise’s focus has shifted on some of the organization’s blue chippers on the farm.
So which prospect will emerge first? Specifically, which youngster will secure a rotation spot and cement himself as a member of the starting five for the foreseeable future?
Currently sitting at No. 6 in the organization’s top prospects list is 24-year-old righty Ryan Pepiot. So far, he has been given two starts and outside of a few minor bright spots, hasn’t wowed the Los Angeles fan base. It’s easy to see that Pepiot has the talent to succeed, but until he harnesses his command, he might not be the best available option.
Over his two MLB starts, Pepiot has thrown seven full innings, allowing three earned runs on three hits. That doesn’t sound bad, but his eight walks are intolerable.
Like Pepiot, Michael Grove had his own case of control problems, or the jitters if you will, when he walked three batters in his MLB debut against the Phillies last week. Also like Pepiot, Grove was able to crank his fastball past the 95 mph mark. If it wasn’t for an untimely infielding error by Gavin Lux, Grove’s debut might have “felt” much better than the scoreboard indicated, even though he wasn’t charged with any earned runs.
I’m speaking subjectively, of course, but it seemed to me that Grove was just a tad more polished in his delivery than Pepiot. Coincidentally, Grove is ranked way down at No. 23 on the club’s prospect list.
Currently sitting at the No. 2 prospect ranking is 23-year-old righty Bobby Miller. Although he isn’t anywhere near the major league roster, Miller captured the hearts of many when he was clocked at triple digits multiple times in the 2022 Cactus League Freeway Series — on his birthday, no less.
After a slow start to the year, Miller is finally coming around at Double-A Tulsa. He has been able to shrink an ERA that was once above 6.00 close to 4.00. In his last start against Frisco last weekend, he threw five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out five.
Miller’s nowhere near the 40-man roster at this point, but stranger things have happened in the past.
With Andrew Heaney still weeks away and Clayton Kershaw still not on a clear timetable, we could see Pepiot and Grove be given at least another look, unless the team has interest in seeing Jackson throw first.