While Major League players have not yet reported to Spring Training due to the ongoing lockout, Minor League camp is in full swing as their season remains on track to start on time.
Without Major League players at Camelback Ranch, it gives the Minor Leaguers a good chance to receive extra coaching and prove themselves as they prepare for the upcoming season.
Among those players with the most to gain are a group of Los Angeles Dodgers pitching prospects who could end up making their debut sometime in 2022, including Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Landon Knack.
For Miller, things are still feeling normal for as he gets his workouts in and the Dodgers Minor Leaguers have made the best of the situation during the lockout, he said during an appearance on “Dodger Talk” with David Vassegh, AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio:
“Right now, yeah. Last year obviously was a little bit of a different year for me, but everyone is still here getting their work done. Everybody has been getting after it so far and we’re all having a really good time.”
However, normal for Miller isn’t necessarily the norm for other players. He was selected in the first round of the 2020 MLB draft during the height of the pandemic, so when he reported to Spring Training for the first time in 2021, the league was still working to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks among clubs.
Now Miller is in his second Spring Training as he reports to the facility with no Major League players around and no games ongoing, but that hasn’t stopped him or any of the players from getting the work done that they need to:
“All our COVID stuff was a little different, they had big league Spring Training last year and obviously that’s not going on right now. We were playing games at this time last year. Right now we’re just about to start camp games, but we’re still having a great time out here getting all the work done we need to get done.”
Since being drafted, Miller has quickly risen through the prospect ranks and has the outlook of a potential frontline starting pitcher.
The 22-year-old right-hander has an electric fastball that can reach triple-digits, a wipeout slider, a developing curveball, and a decent changeup.
He pitched 56.1 innings last year between High-A Great Lakes and Double-A Tulsa, but 47 of those innings came with the Loons as he posted a 1.91 ERA. Miller has also shown a strong ability to post high strikeout numbers and limit walks so far, which is encouraging because he had a bit of a funky windup that was causing some control problems.
Maddux Bruns throws BP during Minor League Spring Training
Miller, Pepiot and Knack garner plenty of national attention, and albeit to a lesser extent so too has Maddux Bruns since being taken in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft.
Bruns became the first high-school left-handed pitcher taken by the Dodgers in the first round since Clayton Kershaw was drafted seventh overall in 2006. Bruns mentioned Kershaw as one of the pitchers he idolized and hoped to develop a relationship with the three-time Cy Young Award winner.
How much of a possibility that may be moving forward is unclear as Kershaw remains a free agent. Of course, the lockout is preventing him from reporting to Spring Training anyhow, but that doesn’t apply to Bruns, who is been among those on hand at Camelback Ranch and threw live batting practice during Dodgers Minor League Spring Training.
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