MLB.com’s writers chose five potential breakout pitchers this year, and two Dodgers made the list.
Dustin May, breakout pitcher of the year? It’s certainly possible, writes Thomas Harrigan. Although May has pitched in four seasons for the Dodgers, he’s only notched about 144 innings total thanks to the pandemic and his Tommy John surgery. Over his first five starts in 2021, May held on to a 2.74 ERA, 37.6% strikeout rate, and 6.5% walk rate before being sidelined by an elbow injury. That performance, alongside an average fastball speed of 97.6 MPH and sinkers in the upper 90s, could mean that May is poised for a big year.
Ryan Pepiot is also someone to watch, according to David Adler. Pepiot’s command of the strike zone is impressive: As a starter, he had a 24.1% whiff rate in 2022, putting him up there with Jacob deGrom, Shane McClanahan, and Spencer Strider. Called strikes accounted for another nearly 25% of pitches, for a total strike rate of 50.6%. And that’s not all. Pepiot averages 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings, thanks in part to a high-spinning fastball and above-average horizontal break on his changeups and sliders.
And in case you were curious, writers listed Jesús Luzardo (Miami Marlins), George Kirby (Seattle Mariners), and Hunter Green (Cincinnati Reds) as three additional pitchers to keep tabs on this season.
Mookie Betts spent some time at Driveline Baseball, a favorite performance facility of major leaguers, to bulk up for 2023, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
More money, more problems? For the San Diego Padres — who are outspending the Dodgers this year — their payroll may not be enough to guarantee greatness, writes Pedro Moura of Fox Sports.
With Justin Turner acclimating to Boston’s crisp springtimes, there’s a big opportunity for Dodgers to step up as clubhouse leaders, writes MLB.com’s Juan Toribio.