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Diego Cartaya, Ryan Pepiot lead 5 Dodgers in ESPN top 100 prospects for 2022

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers-Workouts
Ryan Pepiot was rated the No. 59 prospect in MLB heading into 2022 by ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel, who described Pepiot’s best pitch as a “Bugs Bunny changeup”
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As more and more national baseball outlets unveil their top prospect lists, a consensus begins to emerge as to which Dodgers minor leaguers are highly anticipated. But it’s also notable when something a little different comes up, a changeup if you will.

So it’s only fitting that of the national prospect lists released thus far, ESPN has Ryan Pepiot rated the highest. On Kiley McDaniel’s top 100 list at ESPN, Pepiot is rated as the No. 59 prospect in MLB heading into 2022.

“We come to Pepiot, who probably has the best changeup in the whole minor leagues, an at least 70-grade Bugs Bunny-type offering,” McDaniel wrote. “He’s more than just a trick-shot artist, sitting 94-97 mph with some lift to his four-seam fastball, and he mixes in a solid-average cutter/slider.”

Pepiot, who was drafted by the Dodgers out of Butler in the third round in 2019, had a 4.62 ERA and 29.2-percent strikeout rate between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2021.

Concern over the efficacy of the non-changeups adds a layer of uncertainty whether Pepiot will eventually be a starting pitcher or a reliever, as did his relative struggle — 7.13 ERA, 12 home runs in 41⅔ innings — in Triple-A. But the changeup is already good enough, and it’s likely Pepiot will make his major league debut at some point in 2022.

Pepiot was rated the 99th-best prospect by Baseball America. That’s the only other top-100 list he appears on so far this offseason, though Keith Law at The Athletic had Pepiot among his near misses, part of a deep group of impressive Dodgers pitching prospects.

McDaniel had Pepiot as the second-highest Dodger on his list. Catcher Diego Cartaya is tops at No. 26, one spot above fellow Venezuelan catcher Keibert Ruiz, who was traded by the Dodgers to the Nationals in July. Cartaya, who just turned 20 in September, was also the top Dodger prospect on lists at The Athletic (13th) and Baseball America (No. 23) as well. His average rank on BA, Baseball Prospectus, The Athletic, and ESPN is 29.

Bobby Miller, the Dodgers’ first-round draft pick out of Louisville in 2020, checks in next at No. 61 by McDaniel. Miller is the only other Dodgers prospect besides Cartaya to be named on all four top-100 lists this year to date. Miguel Vargas, rated between 36th and 62nd on BA, BP, and The Athletic, did not make ESPN’s top 100.

Outfielder Andy Pages did make the list, checking it at No. 68, with McDaniel saying Pages is already good enough to play center field if needed.

“He’ll probably always strike out more than league average but has enough contact skills and patience to keep his OBP in a good spot,” McDaniel wrote, “while his in-game power ability is his real calling card.”

Second baseman Michael Busch is rated 87th by ESPN this year, one spot ahead of his ranking by McDaniel last season.

With the nationals lists out from Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, The Athletic, and ESPN, seven Dodgers prospects have been named on at least one top-100 (or 101) list.

Dodgers ranked in 2022 top-100 prospect lists

Prospect Pos Age Baseball America Baseball Prospectus The Athletic ESPN FanGraphs MLB Pipeline
Prospect Pos Age Baseball America Baseball Prospectus The Athletic ESPN FanGraphs MLB Pipeline
Diego Cartaya C 20 23 55 13 26 37 28
Bobby Miller RHP 23 38 63 50 61 94 57
Miguel Vargas 3B 22 40 36 62 94
Michael Busch 2B 24 76 53 87 79 67
Andy Pages OF 21 68 76 68 86 68
Ryan Pepiot RHP 24 99 59
Eddys Leonard 2B/SS/OF 21 98
Age as of June 30, 2022