MLB Exclusive: You Should Know Dodgers’ Ryan Pepiotby Kamran Nia December 5, 2021 0 comments
Ryan Pepiot is a name that Major League Baseball fans could be hearing for a while. The 24-year old right-handed pitcher is ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system. Manager Dave Roberts mentioned Pepiot as an option to be called up to the major leagues last season, but he never received the nod. However, it is expected that the Indiana native that set multiple strikeout records at Butler University will get the call at some point in 2022.
During the offseason, Pepiot was busy, spending the beginning of the offseason training in Glendale, AZ at the Dodgers Spring Training Complex each day. At the same time, he had to plan for his wedding.
“I have just been battling. Trying to go to the field, get my work done… and just make sure I’ve crossed all my T’s and dotted all my I’s. (But) time management skills I’m pretty good with, so I’ve been able to do everything that I need to do effectively.”
2021 was the first full minor league season for Pepiot, as 2020 was canceled due to the coronavirus. He participated in the Dodgers’ alternate site with other top prospects and veterans such as Matt Beaty, Edwin Rios, and Zach McKinstry during the canceled year.
“Being able to pick some brains, talk to some guys, get ideas, see what they do… It was nice to just be able to look back and watch and just observe and see how some of the veteran guys… go about their business”, he said.
Pepiot started 2021 in Double-A with the Tulsa Drillers, pitching in 15 games. He was excellent in Tulsa, posting a 2.87 earned run average with 81 strikeouts over 59.2 innings. One way the 24-year-old succeeds is through his his devastating changeup and fastball mix. MLB.com gives him a 70 grade on the changeup and 65 on his fastball. Pepiot’s ability to deceive batters with the mix of both has allowed him to be called up to higher levels.
“The deception of being able to throw it the same arm speed as my fastball, from the exact same arm slot. The spin axis on it looks exactly like my fastball, then once he just gets to the plate, it’s just not there like a fastball” Pepiot said about his changeup.
wanna see one of the best change-ups in the Minors? meet Ryan Pepiot: pic.twitter.com/imMSsQOiNv
— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) March 5, 2021
After his success in Double-A, Pepiot was called up to Triple-A in Oklahoma City. However, he struggled at the higher level. He produced an ERA of 7.13, but still struck out batters at a high rate, with 10.05 strikeouts per nine innings in 11 games. He is working on learning from his errors and refining his game.
“Now that I have gone through some struggles, I know how to handle it. I know what it feels like, I know how to battle back from it when it happens again.”
Pepiot has now played at most levels of high-level baseball in America except the MLB. He played his collegiate ball at Butler University where he found tremendous success.
At Butler, Pepiot set the all-time strikeouts record with 306 and the single-season record with 126 passing Pat Neshek for both. Due to his success and excellent changeup, he received plenty of draft buzz. Eventually, the Dodgers selected Pepiot in the third round becoming the highest drafted player in Butler history.
“It was a very surreal experience and a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. I had my childhood dream realized” Pepiot said about the moment he was drafted.
Since being drafted, Pepiot has had his ups and downs in minor league baseball. However, he has consistently progressed up to higher levels. Pepiot does not focus on the buzz, rather he just keeps working.
“It’s always cool to see the what-if situations, but you know, at the end of the day, I have a job to do. That is to go out whenever I get the opportunity to throw and give it my all.”
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Main Image Credit: via Dodger Blue