Spring Training offers Major League teams a chance to see some of its best up-and-coming prospects. Quite a few of the top pitching prospects are making the most of this time, in order to push for a spot on Opening Day rosters. Here’s a look at five hurlers who have done a good job of standing out thus far.
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We’ll start off with Dodgers pitcher Ryan Pepiot. Pepiot broke into the Majors for the first time in 2022, and did not disappoint. One of the top prospects in the Dodgers farm, the former Butler prospect used his high-octane fastball and above-average change to go 3-0 with a 3.47 ERA and 42 strikeouts over 36.1 IP. The 24-year-old has continued to impress thus far in Spring Training, as he’s posted a 1.50 ERA and struck out nine over his first six innings.
With Tony Gonsolin questionable for Opening Day, Pepiot could figure into the Dodgers rotation as early as last March.
Acquired from the Yankees for reliever Scott Effross, Cubs RHP Hayden Wesneski made a strong first impression with Chicago last season. Wesneski went 3-2 with a 2.18 ERA and 9.0 K/9 over his first 33 regular season innings in the Majors. The 25-year-old has started right where he left off this spring, as Wesneski has thrown 4.2 scoreless innings as of March 10, and struck out seven.
Unless an injury arises, it might be tough for Wesneski to crack the rotation for Opening Day. But, it shouldn’t take much longer for him to become a regular in the Majors.
Former Red Sox prospect Thad Ward was a strikeout machine in the Minors. He’ll look to do the same in the Majors with the Nationals, after Washington acquired him this past winter. So far, Ward has done a good job of impressing his new club. The 26-year-old has struck out six over 3.2 scoreless frames in the spring.
Ward is a Rule 5 pick, meaning that Washington must keep him on the MLB roster for all of 2023 in order to keep his rights. On a rebuilding team, it’s not unreasonable to think that Ward can do just that.
The 2022 season was a tough one for Orioles prospect Grayson Rodriguez, who most likely could have made his MLB debut had he not missed a good chunk of the year due to health. Now, Rodriguez is looking to claim a rotation spot this spring. In his first 4.2 IP of the spring, Rodriguez struck out five and posted a very respectable 1.93 ERA.
It won’t be very long until Rodriguez — one of our top fantasy pitching prospects to watch in 2023 — makes it to the Majors. However, can he crack the O’s rotation to start 2023? Time will tell.
Over the past two Minor League seasons, former Oklahoma star Cade Cavalli raced through the Nationals organization. That led to his first MLB appearance late last year, an outing that didn’t go well but nonetheless gave the Nats a look at a key piece of the team’s rebuild moving forward. Cavalli has struck out six in Spring Training as of March 10 over three innings.
It’s probable that Cavalli, provided he stays healthy, will get a long look in Washington at some point in 2023.