Relief pitching is a topic fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers take very seriously. We seemingly begin putting a hypothetical bullpen together from the days following the last contest of the World Series the whole way through the final Cactus League games of spring training. The days and weeks leading up to the trade deadline are especially exciting, as front-office boss Andrew Friedman and his crew have always been known to add an interesting piece or two for the stretch run of the season.
So, when one of the more popular MLB media outlets puts together an article showcasing the potential future closers for each club, fans take notice.
Long story short, three of MLB.com’s biggest guns chose 20-year-old lefty Ronan Kopp as the appointee for the Dodgers. Of course, anybody’s guess is as good as anyone else’s for a topic like this, but it seems like there could be a handful of other candidates better suited for the future closer role.
That’s not even taking into consideration the idea that the Dodgers have stated they are steering away from using a dedicated closer for the ninth inning this season, even though you can tell skipper Dave Roberts is leaning towards Evan Phillips as his primary late-inning guy.
Many fans probably aren’t familiar with Kopp, who was chosen in the 12th round of the 2021 draft out of South Mountain Community College in Arizona. What stands out about the Baldwin Park native is that he’s 6-foot-7, allowing him to get some serious amount of sweep on his slider, which can be especially deadly to lefty hitters. He also has a four-seam that touched as high as 99 MPH last season at Low-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Obviously, the problem with many of these prospects trying to climb through the lower levels of the farm is command. Besides walking nearly a batter an inning this season for High-A Great Lakes, he has trouble maintaining consistent velocity on his four-seam. Thanks to his high walk rate, his WHIP so far this season is a not-so-impressive 1.585.
Although coaches used Kopp in relief to get his feet wet in the Arizona Rookie League months after drafting him, the organization has given the 250-pounder every opportunity to climb his way through the organizational ranks as a starter. So far this season, he has posted an 0-1 record across six starts with a 3.57 ERA, 31 punchouts and 14 walks over 17-2/3 innings of work.
The strikeouts are impressive, but the bases on balls ratio almost reminds you of a young Marshall Kasowski from a few years ago.
Kopp attended Scottsdale Christian High School where he registered a 0.41 ERA with 118 punchouts over 55 innings his senior year in 2020. He was coached in high school by former MLB great Tim Salmon, who told reporters several years ago that Kopp reminded him of a young Madison Bumgarner.
In 10 games for his only season at South Mountain Community College in 2021, Kopp made six starts and registered a 2.84 ERA with 38 strikeouts over 25-1/3 innings.
Before his recent promotion, 31-year-old righty Wander Suero led the way at Triple-A Oklahoma City with five saves, followed by three from the 6-foot-6, 24-year-old righty Nick Robertson.
At Double-A Tulsa, 26-year-old lefty John Rooney leads the team with three saves. Jake Pilarski, a 24-year-old right hander out of Pittsburgh, leads the team with eight saves.
8 thoughts on “Ronan Kopp: Future Closer for Dodgers?”
“but the bases on balls ratio almost reminds you of a young Marshall Kasowski”
I hope Kopp ages better than the Big K, because it looks as though Kasowski will never have the great closer career we had hoped for him.
“He was coached in high school by former MLB great Tim Salmon, who told reporters several years ago that Kopp reminded him of a young Madison Bumgarner.”
Let’s just hope that he doesn’t morph into the older Madbum, a pretty sorry sight on the mound these days.
The line on Kasowski was inserted especially for you, Jeff.
I appreciate that Dennis. I know you’re always looking out for me.
Never pay, much attention to young pitchers until they gain some control. Most never do and become fringe mlb players at best. Ie Miller ( maybe), grove, pepoit etc.
Fun article by Tim Rogers on Dodgers 2080 on a young pitcher Reynaldo Yean throws 101 and has a change and slider. As Gordon says, control is the deciding factor on pitchers. It’s why Stone has climbed so quickly plus his incredible change. But lots of promise for Yean a 6″4 guy throwing heat..
Where is he pitching this year? I only see 2022 stats for him.
Definitely seems like another kid who walks too many but he’s still very young.
Jeff: Maybe it is the anti-Pittsburgh philosophy at work. For years Pitt taught their young MiL pitchers to throw strikes; don’t worry yet about velocity.
Could be, I guess. If I’m forced to pick L.A. strategy or Pittsburgh strategy on any baseball-related subject, I’m going to go with L.A. based on results over the past quarter century.