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Philip Pfeifer profile: A closer look at Dodgers' 3rd-round pick

Philip Pfeifer pitched at Dodger Stadium in March in the Dodgertown Classic.
Philip Pfeifer pitched at Dodger Stadium in March in the Dodgertown Classic.
Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers took another Vanderbilt pitcher with their third-round pick, taking left-hander Philip Pfeifer with pick No. 101 overall.

What he’s good at right now: Pfiefer has wedged himself between Carson Fulmer and Walker Buehler in the Vanderbilt weekend rotation thanks to his ability to command three pitches. His fastball can sit at 91 mph in starts and he will mix in a curve and change.

What he can be good at in the future: Pfiefer is an older player and will just have to prove himself up the ladder. If moved to relief, his curveball could play up as a left handed specialist.

What does he need to work on: Pfiefer will need to smooth out the effort in his delivery and watch his tempo.

Carry tool: Pitchability and average command could help him reach the major leagues as a fifth starter or reliever.

Biggest weakness: Pfiefer has no plus pitches, his upside is limited, and he’s older for his grade. He’s had character issues but looks to have put them behind him.

ETA: Could begin full season ball right away if so desired, but Pfiefer may have to battle his way to the top with pitchability over stuff. Could reach majors by 2017 as a reliever, possibly 2018 as a starter.

Realistic best case scenario: Most likely, Pfiefer will work his way to Triple A and need will dictate his future role. If the season mirrors this year, the Dodgers will need him for his starting ability. However, talent being equal, Pfiefer lacks the overall stuff to start for the Dodgers and fits in the middle of the pen as a lefty reliever.

Wrap: A fourth-year junior, the Dodgers take Pfiefer above his value in what’s likely to be an under-slot deal after what looks like an expensive day one. That’s not to say Pfiefer lacks potential, as he’s saved his best performances for the post season run with Vanderbilt and has become a key rotation piece for the College World Series Contender.

Pfiefer has your standard lefty back end stuff, though his fastball is thrown a tick harder than most of his ilk. He has sink on the fastball, fade on the change-up, and can spin his breaking ball in the zone for a strike. He does nibble a bit and can run into problems with walks, but he’s crafty enough to fool hitters and has been a productive strikeout pitcher this season.