Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at Landon Knack

If you’re a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, looking at the current starting pitching injuries and the depth chart throughout the organization is borderline scary. Headlining the injury list right now is a quintet of relatively big names in Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Dustin May, Ryan Pepiot and Michael Grove, a group that could probably represent an entire rotation for a smaller market team.

So far this year, we’ve seen just about every starting arm on the organizational 40-man roster in the majors. Usually, the Dodgers have a handful of starters on the fringe, but that’s certainly not the case this year. Righty Andre Jackson is about the only halfway decent option available at Triple-A Oklahoma City, but he could be activated on any given day to add to his frequent flyer miles, primarily when considering how poorly Gavin Stone has performed.

The crazy thing is that the remaining big guns at OKC are a bunch of 30-something never-has-beens in Matt Andriese, Robbie Erlin and William Cuevas. Andriese and Erlin are tied for the team lead with 10 starts apiece, but both have pitched relatively poorly in the hitter-friendly confines of the Pacific Coast league, compiling 4.81 and 6.89 ERAs, respectively.

About the only thing close resembling a high-quality starter right now in the minors is 25-year-old righty Landon Knack, who has gotten off to one of his best minor league seasons since being drafted by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft.

Through his first nine starts of 2023 at Double-A Tulsa, Knack has posted a 1.32 ERA, a 0.80 WHIP with 45 punchouts over 41 innings of work. His last start came last Wednesday against Northwest Arkansas when he threw seven full innings of shutout ball, surrendering just four hits and no walks while striking out six batters.

The 6-foot-2 Knack’s season has been night and day compared to last year, when he compiled a 2-10 record with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.407 WHIP over 17 starts and 64-2/3 innings, all at Tulsa.

After being considered close to MLB ready after the draft, the Tennessee native spent a short time of the 2021 season at High-A Great Lakes before being promoted to Tulsa, a place where he has stagnated. His progress has been hampered by a few hamstring issues — much to the disappointment to the organization. However, his promising start to the 2023 campaign has given management, coaches and fans a glimmer of hope.

One of the things that sets Knack apart from other starting pitching prospects is his decent command. He has a four-pitch arsenal with a four-seam, a slider a change and a curve, although his slider is by far his best out pitch. His fastball typically sits in the 92-95 MPH range, but it topped as high as 98 MPH last season at Tulsa. His curve is still developing despite having one of the best spin rates in the system.

MLB Pipeline currently ranks Knack as the 18th best prospect in the Dodgers’ organization, stating, “He still has one of the higher floors among Dodgers pitching prospects, but his ceiling of a mid-rotation starter is further away than it was a year ago.”

Baseball Prospectus profiles Knack as an “innings-eating, back-of-the-end rotation starter.”

To say at the beginning of the season that Knack had a legit shot to make his MLB debut in 2023 would have been borderline ludicrous. However, if he continues to throw at his current rate throughout the All-Star break and the Los Angeles starting rotation picture worsens as the season progresses, nothing would be surprising.

Dodgers Look to Finish Road Trip Strong in Tampa Bay

Last week, we talked about how the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff was going to have a big test ahead of them on their current road trip. As with everything else this season, some unexpected things happened in that regard, good and bad.

The Dodgers started their trip in St. Louis, and lost the last three of that four game series. Clayton Kershaw, still dealing with his mother’s recent death, only lasted 3.2 in the finale of the series, one of the shortest outings of his entire career. Tony Gonsolin was the only one who allowed no runs that series. However, he only lasted 5.0 innings because his pitch count got too high in the process.

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How Active Will Dodgers Be at 2023 MLB Trade Deadline?

At this point, it’s probably a given that the Los Angeles Dodgers will make at least a few moves at the 2023 MLB summer trade deadline. The big question, though, is whether the team will make a big splash having an immediate impact.

Several weeks ago, many fans felt that it could take a little time for the 2023 version of the Dodgers to develop. However, as the 50-game mark of the campaign approaches, it’s probably safe to say this is one of the most inconsistent teams we’ve seen in recent years. Although Los Angeles is barely holding on to first place in the NL West, it’s still hard to say how the rest of the field will shape up as the season progresses.

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Dodgers Pitching Will Be Tested on Longest Road Trip of Season

The Los Angeles Dodgers are embarking on their longest road trip of the season, which will take them to three cities for 10 games.

The team was the last in the majors to play any American League teams, but finished their last home stand by taking two of three from the AL Central leading Minnesota Twins.

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Dodgers Announce Opening Day Roster, and Thoughts Going Into Season

The Los Angeles Dodgers are poised to begin another playoff run in 2023, what would be over a decade of making the playoffs for the Boys in Blue.

This season will start with a bit more uncertainty than a lot of those previous teams, however. Gone are many of the players that helped lead the team to breaking the team record in wins, twice.

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Dodgers 26-Man Roster Set

With less than a week to go before the start of the 2023 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have announced their roster to start the season.

For the most part, the roster does not contain many surprises. Two additions do stand out, however.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: What Lies Ahead for Michael Grove in 2023?

With righty Tony Gonsolin likely to begin the season on the injured list with a left ankle sprain, the Los Angeles Dodgers will need to dip into their plentiful stockpile of young starting pitchers to round out their Opening Day rotation.

At the moment, it looks like the team will award the final rotation spot to either Ryan Pepiot or Michael Grove, both of whom made their MLB debuts for the club last year.

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Dodgers News and Notes: Freeman Injury Update and More

The Los Angeles Dodgers now find themselves just two weeks away from the start of the 2023 season.

Several of the Dodgers players have been participating in the World Baseball Classic. Team USA, with Mookie Betts and Will Smith, and Team Mexico, with Julio Urías and Austin Barnes, have both moved on to the second round.

Teams Canada and Great Britain did not advance, meaning that Freddie Freeman and Trayce Thompson are both back at Dodgers camp.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: What Lies Ahead for Ryan Pepiot?

One of the first evaluations almost every Dodgers fan makes heading into Cactus League play is the quality of the major league starting rotation. Los Angeles is almost always in the MLB Top 10 to start the year, but more times than not, the starting five has an entirely different look as the home stretch of the regular season approaches.

The 2023 campaign probably will be no different.

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Should Dodgers Try to Extend Julio Urias?

Aside from bringing back veteran utility infielder Miguel Rojas, not much has happened on the Los Angeles Dodgers player personnel front since the team officially bounced Trevor Bauer from the roster last week.

Although the club is on the hook for the approximately $22.5 million of Bauer’s 2022 salary, all indications are that the team will attempt to stay under the luxury tax threshold for the upcoming season. A move last week that somewhat affected the budget was an agreement on a one-year, $14.25 million deal with starter Julio Urias, allowing the 26-year-old lefty to avoid the arbitration process in his final season before free agency.

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