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.
Pepiot looked stress. My wife was watching and she simply said “it’s the heat”. He has to stay in the rotation, so, night games only. Problem solved.
I like Soto. I just don’t think he’s as good as he thinks he is. Bellinger at 23 was better. Fangraphs has Soto 64th with 3.2 WAR. BR rates him higher, but not in the Top 10.
Maybe Phillips needs a blow. Or maybe it was the heat. Night games only.
9 runs on 9 hits. That’s efficiency.
Bellinger with 3 walks. Good eye kid.
Muncy with a 350’ single. I think he admired it a second and a half too long.
I thought that foul pop grazed the screen. I believe the umpire signaled that. Maybe you tech experts can check that out.
I like a left field of Thompson and Gallo. I’ve seen Joey rope a few, mostly foul but he’s barreling on occasion. My Junior High advice – don’t chase and create back spin. I think he’s still got an easy 420’ in that bat and if he doesn’t chase he’ll walk once a night. You can tell pitchers still fear him.
I like our chances. I like 6 at home against a Rockies club that will have off season reservations and their bags packed and I like the idea of 5 days off after that. Yes, it’s true only about a quarter of the teams with the best record win it all, but if Urias and Kershaw hold up, 6 man will help with that, I think we can beat those odds.
If the team with the best record in regular season only win the championship 25% of the time I wonder what the percent for each of the other rankings. Like, how often does the second best record win the championship?
I prefer Trace in CF full time.
Let Gallo, Vargas, and Taylor share time in LF.
This is a decade old, but I can’t imagine it’s changed much:
Baseball is dominated by randomness. Its uniquely long regular season typically ensures that no bad team enjoys a run of good luck to reach the playoffs, but it emphasizes the extent to which a large sample of games is necessary to determine the best team. Seven just aren’t nearly enough: A postseason series determines which team played better over the course of that series (usually), not which team is better.
I agree that a post season series determines really only which team played better over the course of that series.
Simple solution – 162 game season followed by a 100 game post season.
One month off, rinse and repeat.
Would cynical fans still complain baseball players are overpaid?
Cynical fans will always find something to complain about.
We’re not complaining, we are offering substantive critical analysis.
Then maybe you don’t qualify as cynical.
I beg to differ.
If that is what happened, then I take back the comment. Since I am not a techie, I will go with your explanation.
I too thought that Muncy was admiring the 350′ single too much. I think the ESPN announcers gave Soto too much credit on that one.
I think Soto is a fantastic player, but not worth what he and Boras think he is worth. I really do think he will be disappointed as I cannot see any team giving him $500MM. Then again, I did not see Seager getting $325MM.
I just hope that Trea Turner puts a value on hitting between Mookie and Freddie.
Nice stuff Jeff, but the Padres only scored 4 not 5. Vesia is becoming a left handed vulture. Snuck in and grabbed another win. Phillips was due for a stinker, glad it came now.
Thanks Bear, fixed.
Vesia saved Pepiot’s bacon. Hembree was fine…for one inning. Good to see Kimbrel getting his mojo back. Who let Bickford back in the room? Not a thing of beauty but a win is a win. Concerned about Lux. Bring on the Giants. AZ fans will be rooting for us. Only 1/2 behind the Giants for third place.
I want to return to this idea that Van Scoyoc may not be all that. It definitely runs contrary to the assumption that Dodgers player development is unparalleled. And I know Farnhan basically tried to copy the batting coach dynamic in SF. That worked amazing for one year and has been good not great this one.
questions: does RVS work sit alone or is it considered part of the franchise’s batting development process?? I have thought of Mark Prior as part of the pitching development team across the minors. The same for hitting?
is the Gallo signing more important than I previously thought? I first viewed it as an endorsement of RVS, “our guys are so good”, but maybe it was more of a test? “Let’s see how good our guys are”
as Jeff alluded to, I’m not sure how we can gain any insight but it could be fun to try.
I’ve had similar questions Bluto. The answer I give myself is simply this – until it no longer works, this is the how we do it.
As I watch this lineup of sluggers the two things I see that I think could be problems are high heat and the two strike approach. Good pitching can take advantage of these weaknesses.
Gallo. Just another low risk high reward purchase. It works, it doesn’t work, no matter. We move forward.
I am not sure that there is an adequate answer for this question about hitting coaches specifically. But I do know from talking with former players that organizations do have different philosophies that translate throughout the organization. That is far more prevalent today than previous decades (50’s thru 90’s). Most hitters have their own coaches that fit for their personal swing, but teams seem to acquire players that fulfill more of their philosophy, or players they believe they can mold. James Outman is a perfect example of a player whose approach and swing were torn down completely and rebuilt. He is now a bonafide MLB hitter.
I ran into a former player this past week, and he had an experience with his team that in his opinion might have caused his UCL to tear because of the arm slot the team wanted him to pitch from. He had a 1.7 ERA at the time, but his particular likes pitchers to pitch from different slots to give teams different looks. They believed his new arm slot would give him a different look than others. He did not think he needed to change his slot, and now he is out of baseball. He is not bitter. The surgery allowed him to stay home with his family at a time they needed him. He is learning a new career and playing a lot of golf. He has moved on and is happy.
The point was that the organization had a philosophy they wanted to pin him in. The Dodgers seem to have a philosophy of power paramount over contact. RVS is a perfect complement to that philosophy. But it wasn’t RVS that advised Mookie to attack 1st strike. It was Freddie and Trea, two players that did not come up through the LAD system. It is Freddie that is the perfect mentor for Gavin Lux. RVS did not change him.
I recently read an article in The Athletic about Max’s new approach with his back step. When he came back from the injury, he relied on muscle memory and the results were not the same. He felt comfortable, thus he thought it was the correct approach.
“It left the 31-year-old searching for answers that ranged to the extreme. The Dodgers discussed moving his hands around or changing how Muncy stood in the box. On a whim, he tried a different approach in the cage before a game last month at Coors Field. As the pitch would arrive, he’d take a half step back with his left leg, getting his back hip higher, and better positioning his shoulders. Doing so redistributed his body back down and forward rather than up and under the ball.”
I believe this is more what Jerry Hairston Jr. was alluding to. Unless the coach has seen ML pitch movement they cannot teach adjustments, because they have never experienced it. That does not make Jerry right, but it took Max on a whim to make his own adjustment.
The hard swing high launch angle swing (3 outcome or 2 outcome) is one that works when the mechanics are right. CT3 and Belli are this type of hitter, and their mechanics are not in synch. Doc has said that CT3’s mechanics are way out of whack, and he is probably the most mechanical hitter on the team.
I have nothing against RVS or Brant Brown or Aaron Bates. I think they are fine coaches. I think more than pitching, hitters rely on their personal coaches more than the team coaches. That is why I believe that hitting coaches get too much credit when the team hits well and too much blame when they do not. IMO it is the coach that can find that adjustment during the season that makes him more valuable. I have heard more of Freddie being the impetus of change than the LAD hitting coaches. But as Badger said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I do find it very confusing where the individual ends and the organization begins.
Turner, Chris Taylor, Trayce, Will Smith, even Outman.
They all seem to have rebuilt their swing or approach here with the Dodgers, but did the Dodgers/RVS team worked with or independent of their individual swing / hitting coaches?
Jeff, can minor league players afford personal coaches? Does RVS approve those who are hired to be minor league batting coaches? Does Prior approve the pitching coaches? Or is it at the Front Office level to hire people at every strata who are “in sync”?
Are Dodgers coaches allowed to work with minor leaguers during the summer?
Many of the MiLB hitting coaches are friends of the family, HS coaches, as well as paid coaches. They usually find a way to get them paid. My son did not have a personal hitting coach. He knew more about hitting than most of those coaches ever knew. He had ML players calling him to review their swing. He is one that would never let RVS coach him as to how to hit. That is not a knock on RVS but more of an indication as to the amount of confidence he had in his swing.
As a side note, he has stopped teaching hitting to HS players because he will not teach the high launch angle approach, and that is what they want to work on.
Launch angle swing doesn’t look that hard to learn. Swing as hard as you can no matter the count or situation, , hit the bottom of the ball to create backspin and finish high. There. You know how to create launch angle.
The Orioles picked up Jake Reed off waivers.
Comments today fall into the “I Got Questions” category.
I’ve heard that cortisone shots are painful. Was Lux’ shot to his neck designed to take his mind off his painful neck by introducing another pain?
I’ve had several shots in the neck, including RFA on C4-6. Also cortisone in knee and shoulder. Cortisone shots are easy compared to RFA. That procedure is medieval.
Heaney. Too many fastballs down the pipe. High and tight low and away.
This is the exact reason why NYY released Heaney. Last year at NYY he allowed 13 HRs in 35.2 IP. After the 5th inning, in his last 20.2 IP, he has given up 10 HRs, or 4.35 HRs/9 innings. That is not sustainable.
Heaney is a 3-pitch pitcher that relies overwhelmingly 4-seamer and slider. He will throw an occasional change. 3 HRs were on 4-seamers in the low 90’s (93.2, 92.4, and 93.6), and one on a change (84.6).
Only the change was on an edge and it was up. He tubes way too many 4 seamers.
Whatever Longoria said to Kapler during the second inning worked. Heaney was tipping his pitches and Longoria spotted it.