Dodgers pitching prospect Ryan Pepiot, 24, is set to make his MLB debut today, starting against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pepiot, a 6-foot-3-inch righthanded pitcher from Westfield, Indiana, was drafted by the Dodgers in the third round (102nd pick overall) of the 2019 MLB draft out of Butler University.
While in college, Pepiot was 14-8 with a 3.61 ERA in 42 games pitched. He pitched 219.1 innings at Butler, racking up 306 strikeouts and a 1.277 WHIP. In 2019, Pepiot set records for both single-season (126) and career (306) strikeouts at Butler, en route to becoming to the highest draft pick in school history at the time.
Since being drafted, Pepiot has quickly established himself as one of the top pitching prospects in the Dodgers organization. He is 7-9 with a 3.75 ERA in 45 games pitched in the minor leagues. In 151 innings pitched, he has 194 strikeouts and a 1.252 WHIP.
Before this season, Pepiot was ranked the No. 59 prospect in baseball by Kiley McDaniel at ESPN, 99th at MLB.com, and 99th at Baseball America.
In AAA Oklahoma City this year, Pepiot is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in six games pitched. In 26.1 innings pitched this year, he has 36 strikeouts and a 1.139 WHIP. His strong start to the season earned him Pacific Coast League pitcher of the month honors for April.
His bread and butter as far as his pitching repertoire is concerned includes a very solid fastball sitting 94-96 mph that can touch 98 at times and one of the most dominant changeups in the Minors.
On 20-80 scouting reports, his changeup earns top-of-the-scale 80 grades from some evaluators for a low-80s weapon that fades before dropping as it approaches the plate. Pepiot also features an upper 80s power slider that moves in the opposite direction from his changeup that he’s also able to turn into more of a cutter.
Talking with Dodgers reporter David Vassegh earlier this Spring, Pepiot told him that he was trying to get to a five-pitch mix, adding a sweeping slider and featuring a new grip on his curveball to hopefully get more precision and increase his ability to land the pitch for strikes.
Pepiot has excellent feel for his changeup, but he has struggled in his minor league career to locate his fastball with precision and to throw his slider for strikes. Evaluators believe he has the stuff to make him a mainstay in the front half of a big league rotation as long as he can polish up his command.
Even if he doesn’t make great strides with his command, evaluators believe his fastball/changeup combination is good enough that he should, at minimum, be a valuable piece in the bullpen as a multi-inning or high leverage reliever.
The Dodgers are currently in the first week of a marathon of games that sees them playing 31 games in 30 days, so spot starts will be needed during this stretch to provide some rest for the established rotation mainstays. Pepiot as well as veteran Robbie Erlin, who was called up last Saturday, are likely candidates to make one or more spot starts over this stretch.