The 2021 season was a big one for right-handed pitcher Zack Plunkett. This year presented Plunkett with an opportunity to showcase what he could do on the mound after transitioning from catching to pitching two years ago.
“Going from catching to pitching in 2019, I was able to get a short season in, but having a full season of pitching this year was really good,” said Plunkett. “More than anything, I’m feeling good, my arm is feeling good, and I know what I need to work on to set me apart.”
Racking up 54 strikeouts in 47 innings pitched split between High-A and Double-A was a nice start to Plunkett’s full-season play. And getting the opportunity to pitch at two levels in 2021 gave Plunkett an idea of what to expect from hitters at higher levels of play moving forward.
“Going into it, I wanted to have the mindset that everyone in Double-A has been in High-A, too,” stated Plunkett. “I didn’t want to psych myself up too much. The biggest difference I noticed is when you make a mistake in High-A, they’d hit it, and it’d be a single, or a double. In Double-A you’re going to get punished a lot worse.”
Currently using a three-pitch mix of a fastball, a splitter, and a slider, Plunkett doesn’t see think adding to his pitch repertoire is a high priority.
“I don’t think there’s really a need for four or five pitches coming out of the bullpen,” explained Plunkett. “I’d much rather invest in the three pitches that I have right now. One of my big goals this offseason is to make the splitter and slider that were pretty good half of the time, and inconsistent at other times, really good on a consistent basis.”
In fact, Plunkett’s primary focus this offseason is to find consistency, as he feels it’s the biggest difference with the levels.
“I really want to find consistency this offseason,” said Plunkett. “From talking to other guys in the organization, I’d say the biggest difference from Double-A, Triple-A, or even the Majors is being able to perform at a high level consistently.”
Be sure to follow Zack Plunkett in 2022 as he looks to be a reliable bullpen option in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system.