Landon Knack is on the Fast Track

The game of baseball has seen a revolution in technology in the last decade, and it has changed the game of baseball in many ways.

Terms like Launch Angle and spin rate have become household terms, and Front Offices are relying more on computer-driven data than ever before.

But……the more things change, sometimes, the more they stay the same.

How does that relate to the Dodgers?  Well, one thing that seems to be unwavering is the organization’s ability to focus on and find power arms.

Youngsters Josiah Gray and Gerardo Carillo were recently traded to the Nats, so, as “they” say, next man up, Right?


Insert Ryan Pepiot, Andre Jackson, and Landon Knack to the spotlight.

There are just 2 most likely reasons why organizations would part with power arms rated as high as and/or were as promising as Josiah Gray and Gerardo Carillo.

1 The Big Club has a window to win a World Series so they acquire a veteran that can help them do that before they no longer can afford their stars.  

2 the other reason is that, despite the young talent given up, the organization knows that it can “absorb” the losses of the trade.

The Dodgers fit both categories, but, unlike smaller market teams,, they also have the ability to keep their stars.

So, what is the point to all of what I just wrote?

The point is while losing Gray and Carillo were big losses, the Dodgers have Pepiot. Jackson. Knack, Grove, Robertson, etc….to “absorb” those losses.

And….that’s just in AA and AAA.

Today’s feature will focus on Landon Knack, the 6’2″ flame thrower from Middle Tennessee State, and will help break down why the Dodgers are so high on the young Right hander.

Landon was drafted by the Dodgers in the 2nd Round of the 2020 draft, a draft in which only had 5 rounds, and, thus, included just the “Cream of the Crop.”

As if getting drafted in the 2nd round isn’t complimentary enough, Knack’s first official appearance in the Dodgers organization happened in high A ball this Summer in June, and, now, just 2 short months later, he’s already in AA Tulsa. 

He’s definitely on the “fast track”.

So, now that you know a little bit about Landon Knack, let’s dive into what he brings to the mound with him for the Dodgers.

I got a chance to watch Knack in person recently, and, I won’t sugar coat it, he struggled.  In the performance I saw, Knack gave up 7 hits, 6 runs, and 4 home runs in 3.2 innings.

But, with baseball being such a game of failure, one thing you have to find out about a young prospect is, how will they handle themselves when things aren’t going the way they want them to.

Knack passed that test with flying colors and controlled his emotions well and will learn from this outing.

Okay, back to his stuff

As with most Dodger pitching prospects, the first thing that has to be mentioned is that Landon Knack is a big-time power arm.

Knack’s fastball ranges from 93-96, and,  as you can see in the video below, he likes to work his fastball up in the zone to take advantage of the high spin rate of that pitch.

The first pitch in this video is an example of his fastball up in the zone

If you fast forward to :20 you get to see his fastball down in the zone that “cuts” more.

So, as time goes on, and as Knack gains more experience, his fastball has the potential to act as 2 different pitches.

Knack also shapes 2 different types of breaking balls. 

I like to use the term “shape” to supplement the terms slider, curveball, etc…because the latter terms are so subjective. What some call cutters, others call sliders, etc….

His 12-6 shaped breaking ball sits at 83-85 and has a ton of downward movement. It can be used as a “get me over” to get ahead in counts, or it can dive below the zone to entice swing and miss strikeouts.

Fast forward to :31 seconds to see the “biting” curveball with heavy downward movement.

Adding to his arsenal is a “9-3” shaped slider and a change-up.

His slider sits at 86-88, so it is a power pitch.

Watch the first pitch of the following video to see his slider at work

To round out the arsenal of Landon Knack, I saved what I consider his most “important” pitch which is his change-up.

Why, in my opinion, is his change-up his most important pitch?

Because hitters can’t differentiate between it and his fastball.  And… sinks, A LOT!

So….Knack is able to get the same kind of downward movement with his change-up as he does with his curveball, but with no identifiable spin or differing arm slot for a hitter to recognize.

So…to hitters, his change-up will look identical to his fastball, but will then fall off the table.

And, it sits low 80’s so it provides a significant difference in speed from his fastball.

Watch the first pitch of this video to see his change-up in action.

Let’s put a button on this……

Knack is a 4 pitch power pitcher, and all 4 pitches have the potential to be ++++ pitches. He has great composure, has a great demeanor to him and has learned the art of pitching with emotion but not being emotional

So, hopefully, now you have a good idea why the Dodgers drafted him in the 4th round and have him on the fast track through the Minor Leagues.

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