3 Dodgers top prospect favorites off to excellent starts in 2022

Adam Weinrib
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 23: Miguel Vargas #71 of the Los Angeles Dodgers follows through on a swing against the Cleveland Guardians during a spring training game at Camelback Ranch on March 23, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 23: Miguel Vargas #71 of the Los Angeles Dodgers follows through on a swing against the Cleveland Guardians during a spring training game at Camelback Ranch on March 23, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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Stating pitcher Ryan Pepiot #89 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

2. Ryan Pepiot

Ryan Pepiot to the back end of the MLB rotation when?

If Andrew Heaney’s going to continue to be Cy Young adjacent, he’s going to have to bide his time, but there’s certainly a depth role for him to play during the season’s second half if he keeps this up. Potentially piggybacking for a returning Dustin May? Not to do Dave Roberts’ job for him, but there’s something there.

In a trio of short starts to begin the 2022 season (and conserve his arm somewhat), Pepiot posted a sterling 1.69 ERA at Triple-A OKC, striking out 14 in 10.2 innings with a minuscule 0.84 WHIP. The advanced college arm (like Michael Busch, but with an arm instead of a bat) appears much more comfortable at Triple-A this time around, after encountering his first-ever stumbling block at the level last year.

In 2021, he plateaued, posting an unsightly 7.13 ERA and .305 batting average against in 11 outings at the level after dominating Double-A. Unfortunately, when you make the average Pacific Coast League hitter look like Joe Mauer (career .306 average), that’s probably cause for concern, and indicates you could use a little more seasoning.

So far, the 2022 version of Pepiot (armed with Blake Treinen’s breaker) deserves praise for overcoming last year’s adversity, which could’ve easily spilled over. The Dodgers will want to keep his innings low and arm fresh, but there’s a role for him in the bigs in the second half if this maintains.

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