Earlier this week, ESPN hosted a conference call to discuss a variety of topics involving baseball’s top farm systems and prospects. Dodgers Nation took part in the call where we asked prospects insider and friend of the show, Kiley McDaniel, his thoughts on LA’s top two pitching prospects and the organization’s success as a whole down on the farm.
To help provide an added perspective, our resident prospects expert, Tim Rogers, will weigh in on key points of Kiley’s analysis along the way.
Here is a transcript of the conversation edited for better flow and clarity.
Question: Focusing on the Dodgers, what are your thoughts on LA’s approach to drafting, scouting, and development?
McDaniel: They have a slightly different approach than (top ranked) Baltimore. I think Baltimore is seen as very progressive, more on the analytical end of things is where their advantage is relative to other teams. The Dodgers are seen I think probably more in that Yankees area where it is driven by the scouting and the eyeball stuff, and then once you have picked out the guys where you sort of like the makeup and the traits, the competitiveness, then go look at the data and the more advanced stuff and sort of figure out, you know, which guy fits the best here.
… But, yeah, another way to explain that the really good organizations have multiple ways to get to better than average returns as we talk about the Rays and Orioles. They have a slightly different flavor of beating everybody.
Notes from Tim Rogers: McDaniel has ranked the Orioles as the number 1 organization in terms of future value. He had the Dodgers ranked as number 8. The organizations have different approaches to finding and developing pitchers. Kiley offers some great insight on how the Dodgers find their talent. Scouting and eyeballs, makeup, competitiveness, then the data. I like this approach as it helps them figure out who can actually fit in and grow, not just throw hard.
Dodgers Prospect Ryan Pepiot Talks Lessons from 2021, Bobby Miller, Nicknames & Much More!
ESPN Insider Shares Thoughts On Ryan Pepiot and Bobby Miller
Q: Focusing in on two names we’ve seen a lot, Ryan Pepiot and Bobby Miller, what do you see for them this year?
KM: Pepiot was a guy that was a mid-major late rising college guy that had a Bugs Bunny changeup and threw pretty hard. Had okay command, okay breaking ball. Had some components they liked. Pepiot I think is maybe a little more stable in that he is probably closer to a finished product and it’s small sort of breaking ball and command adjustments will dictate if he is a five or six innings at a time or one or two innings at a time guy.
TR: Pepiot has turned into a high-caliber prospect who could debut as early 2022. Pepiot was a pitcher that made his mark fairly quickly with the Dodgers during his first professional season. He further enhanced his standing with the team with his performance at the “alternate site” during the 2020 season. Now, he is starting to make some top 100 lists as we predicted last year.
KM: And then Miller was a guy that I thought was a reliever. One or two innings at a time. Was a lot of power. His slider wasn’t an outpitch all the time, and then they figured out a way to make a slider better to improve his command and throw his changeup more, and all those things happened all within a year. Miller I think is a pretty good shot to be three to five innings at a time and is more of a power guy and a little more variance, just because you’re not sure if he will revert back to some of those college elements.
TR: The Dodgers taking raw talent, a teachable player, and turning them into elite prospects is nothing new. They’ve done this with guys like Dustin May, Josiah Gray, and Tony Gonsolin. The development team the Dodgers have is top-notch as they take lower first round picks and turn them into a player team wishes they didn’t pass up in the draft.
Final Thoughts from Tim
Kiley McDaniel had some very interesting insights into how the Dodgers look at players and how they differ from some of the other strong farm systems. The insight he had on Bobby Miller was very interesting as he put out some comparisons to Max Scherzer and Walker Buehler.
How exciting is it to have two top pitching prospects like Miller and Ryan Pepiot?