It has often been said that it is much harder to stay at MLB than to get there. Ryan Pepiot is proving that right now. I have not been shy to write often that Ryan Pepiot is a personal favorite and has been since he was drafted.
Not one to make excuses, but Pepiot has not relieved all year. Could his routine have been compromised? Curious question, but one we will probably never get an answer to. Nor should it ever be communicated, except internally. The heat was another issue. Did it have a factor? Not one of the pitchers will ever use it as an excuse.
Yes, the error caused the run against Pepiot, but it was the walk to Austin Nola that was the problem.
It took Caleb Ferguson 11 pitches to get 3 outs: all on strikeouts (looking). Alex Vesia threw 15 pitches to get 3 outs. Pepiot threw 74 pitches to get 6 outs. That is not ML caliber. He has ML caliber “stuff”, just does not throw it when called upon on a consistent basis.
Pepiot faced 12 batters, and got 2 strikes on 9 of them. 4 of the 9 reached base. He did not have a swing and miss pitch in Sunday’s game. For much of his MLB career, his standout pitch, change, has not been there for him. He undoubtedly gets MiLB hitters to swing at it, but the changeups he threw on Sunday started out of the zone, not fooling anyone.
Confidence in your pitches is critical to staying in MLB. And it looks like Ryan is so tentative, that he seems to be aiming and throwing rather than pitching. His pitches have a lot of late movement, but when they start on the outside of the plate, they are going to slide outside, and the batter is not going to offer.
His ability to make those adjustments are going to dictate how far he gets. It is encouraging to learn that Ryan is not the first pitcher to have highly competitive pitches at the MiLB level, but struggle at the MLB level.
Julio Urias had less than a 3-1 K/BB rate for his career from 2016-2020. Last year he was at 5.13 to 1, while this year it is down, but at an extremely competitive rate of 4.09 to 1.
Except for 2020, Tony Gonsolin has not been prolific with the strikeout. Even this year he is at 3.3 to 1 K/BB. He throws a lot of pitches as well. Both pitchers learned how to pitch with traffic, and that is what Pepiot is doing as well. But if Pepiot wants to stay in the starting rotation conversation, he is going to need to believe in his stuff. But if he does not stay in the starting rotation conversation, then he could be a right handed version of Caleb Ferguson and become a reliever to go as hard as he can for one inning.
Ryan Pepiot has a place on the LAD (or other MLB team) roster, either as a starter or reliever. His “stuff” is legit. He is not going to be an Ace, or in the top of the rotation. But he could be a good #4 or #5. Every team needs them. Now his confidence needs to match his “stuff”, and he will turn the corner. Easier said than done.
Doc Roberts has mentioned on several occasions that he would like to go to a 6-man rotation. I am sure that he was hoping that Pepiot would be that 6th pitcher. Does he get sent out tomorrow to bring in another reliever? Who I do not know. Or does he get another chance to start after 6 days. They have two off days in the next 11 days, which in effect is a 6-man rotation. So we will see what happens.
- Is there a more personable player than Mookie Betts?
- Which was the better reliever pick up at the deadline, Chris Martin or Josh Hader?
- How valuable has Trayce Thompson been this year?
- Is there a better overall catcher in MLB than Will Smith? One word response – NO!
- Physical errors and missed opportunities played a part again on Sunday. Two Trea Turner errors, and a missed pop by Smith actually led to all four Padres runs. Yes it would have been a tough catch, but it could have been caught. And yes I still believe that Smith is the best overall catcher in MLB.
- I am not sure why LAD fans boo Juan Soto. He did not choose to play for San Diego. He is a fantastic player, and from all reports has exemplary character.
- Maybe Craig Kimbrel should have been coming in to, “Let It Go” all year. While I prefer Guns N Roses, you cannot argue with the success with his new enter song.
I need a prelude song for my posts.