Dodgers Team News

Could Jake Pilarski Sneak His Way into Dodgers’ Bullpen Picture?

While many fans were tuned into Mexico vs Japan in the WBC semi-final last night, those who had one eye tuned to the Dodger game got to see the latest intriguing project for LA. Right-hander Jake Pilarski struck out the side against the Rockies on Monday night. His fastball hit 101 miles-per-hour and he flashed a decent offspeed pitch.

Pilarski’s story is interesting. He signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers out of indy ball this past December after being discovered by scout Jonah Rosenthal. Our friend Tim Rogers over at recently spoke with Pilarski and the scout Rosenthal, so check out more about the pitcher’s interesting path to getting to the Dodgers here.

But the short version is that Pilarski went undrafted out of College in 2021 and ultimately pitched two seasons in the Frontier League. He also spent time at the Tread Athletics facility (a pitching mechanics lab similar to Driveline) in the offseason where he was ultimately discovered by the Dodgers.

Just a few short months later Jake put on a show against the Rockies that impressed manager Dave Roberts.

“If he keeps pitching like this,” Roberts said, “he’s going to be on the fast track. I’m excited.”

Via LA Times

He also touched on him after the game with Kirsten Watson on SportsNet LA, appreciating the high-velo display.

So Where Does Pilarski Fit in the Bullpen Picture?

For now, Pilarski is doing what he’s supposed to do. Take advantage of his opportunities. Any time he can get in front of Roberts or any LA pitching coaches, he needs to pound the strike zone with conviction. At 24 years old, he’s heading into affiliate ball for the first time and, as Doc said, he could be fast tracked through the minor leagues. Meaning that there’s a chance he opens the season at High-A ball or above instead of rookie ball.

But that also means he could be in LA before we know it.

With the big league club facing so many injuries and guys like Daniel Hudson, Jimmy Nelson, Alex Reyes, J.P. Feyereisen, and Blake Treinen opening the season on the injured list, the bullpen depth is fairly challenged. As it stands, the Dodgers will have just about every healthy reliever available on the roster for opening day. If one or two injuries occur, then we could see someone like Pilarski rushed into making his debut sooner than he maybe should.

If Jake can mitigate the walks and harness that newfound velocity on his fastball, he could be a nice surprise weapon for LA this season.

Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!

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