Dodgers Righthander Ryan Pepiot On Verge Of MLB Debut
The pitch that made Ryan Pepiot a Top 100 Prospect and will likely get him to the big leagues at some point in 2022 was "self-taught, basically."
The 24-year-old righthander—one of five Dodgers in the Top 100—recalls pitching in the New England Collegiate League following his freshman season at Butler.
"I kind of got shelled because I didn't have a changeup," Pepiot said. "I was basically throwing fastballs all the time, and if you throw fastballs all the time to good college hitters, you're going to get hit around.
"So I started messing around with grips in catch play and long toss, just trying to figure out what I liked, what I could control and what came out similar to my fastball that would play a lot better.
"I kind of found the grip I have now that I liked. I worked on that all offseason into the fall and just continuously refined it as time has gone on."
That grip is "a circle-change off of basically the same grip as my fastball so it comes out with the same spin out of my hand as my fastball," he said.
Armed with that plus-plus changeup, Pepiot is on the verge of MLB, having made his Triple-A debut in August 2021. It didn't go well. Pepiot had a 7.13 ERA in 11 games for Oklahoma City.
Refining the arsenal around his changeup has been the 6-foot-3, 215-pound righthander's focus this offseason.
"Definitely working on my offspeed pitches, landing those for strikes. That's been a big emphasis this offseason," he said, mentioning a hard slider and a slower, sweeping slider to mix in with his fastball, curveball and changeup.
"I'm starting to feel good about my whole arsenal all around," Pepiot said. "Having five tools in the tool box now and being able to throw those where I want to when I want to is definitely going to help me solidify things as a starter and hopefully get a chance to go up to Dodger Stadium at some point."
— Scott Hennessey (Double-A Tulsa) and Austin Chubb (High-A Great Lakes) will return as managers in the Dodgers' farm system for the 2022 season. Hennessey has been with the Drillers since 2017, reaching the Texas League championship series three times and winning in 2018. Chubb will be in his second season at Great Lakes and sixth in the Dodgers' system.
— The Dodgers signed journeyman catcher Tomas Telis to a minor league contract. Telis, 30, has 122 games of big league experience with the Rangers and Marlins from 2014-18, batting .230. He spent the 2021 season with the Twins' Triple-A team, batting .296 with 12 home runs in 101 games, and batted .343 in 43 games in the Venezuelan League this winter.