Dodgers: Top LA Pitching Prospect Likely to Fill Clayton Kershaw’s Rotation Spot

Dodgers: Top LA Pitching Prospect Likely to Fill Clayton Kershaw’s Rotation Spot

After Clayton Kershaw’s surprising early exit on Thursday against the Giants due to a back injury, the Dodgers placed Kershaw on the 15-day IL on Friday. In order to keep the rotation whole, it appears that Ryan Pepiot, one of LA’s top pitching prospects, will be filling in for the three-time Cy Young winner.

This is Kershaw’s second trip to the injured list. In May, he missed a slew of games due to a hip and back injury so the Dodgers are being fairly cautious with the veteran pitcher’s balky back. 

The LA Times’ Jack Harris was one of the first to report that Pepiot will be in the rotation in the meantime.

Pepiot made his Dodgers debut back in May and has started four games this season. He owns a 2.76 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP in the quartet of starts. He’s limited opposing hitters (5.5 H/9), but has struggled with his control (6.6 BB/9).

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The 24-year-old was the Dodgers third-round pick in the 2019 draft and has been one of the top pitching prospects in the LA farm system dating back to last year.

Scouts aren’t the only ones who believe in Pepiot’s potential. In a recent interview, Mariners All-Star outfielder Julio Rodríguez said that the righty was the best pitcher he faced in the minor leagues. 

“The best pitcher I faced in the minor league is probably Ryan Pepiot. I really give props to that guy. Really good competitor. I got a few off of him, but I also got a few strikeouts too, so… he was a tough guy.”

Pepiot still has plenty of things to refine as far as being an upper-echelon big league starter, but all the potential is there for him to blossom.

Now, with the Kershaw injury, he has the opportunity to showcase his talents throughout the month of August. 

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