Dodgers Prospect Landon Knack Is Overpowering (When Healthy)


Landon Knack has been a beast when healthy. Selected in the second round of the 2020 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of East Tennessee State University, the 24-year-old right-hander allowed 50 hits while fanning 82 batters over 62-and-a-third innings last year between High-A Great Lakes and Double-A Tulsa. Injuries limited his action. Knack missed the first month of his initial professional season with a hamstring strain, and later missed three weeks when the issue recurred.

He’s seen his 2022 season delayed by a month, as well. Hampered by what The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya reported as “a minor soft tissue injury,” Knack has yet to take the mound. That will soon change. The hard-throwing hurler is expected to be activated by the Tulsa Drillers this weekend.

No. 12 on our newly-released Los Angeles Dodgers Top Prospects list, Knack discussed his power arsenal late in the Arizona Fall League season.


David Laurila: What stands out about what you’ve learned since joining the Dodgers organization?

Landon Knack: “I’ve learned a lot on how to adjust my pitches. I’ve learned to manipulate pitches a little bit to fit a better pitch profile, to get more swings and misses. The coaches and coordinators do a very good job of educating us, and making sure that we actually understand the numbers — understand what we’re looking at, and what we want to push toward with our individual pitching plans.”

Laurila: What is your repertoire right now, and what do you consider to be your best pitch?

Knack: “I’m four-seam riding fastball, slider, changeup, curveball. I’m also working on a cutter. I’d say my fastball is my best pitch, with the ride, although my best swing-and-miss pitch [in 2021] has been actually my changeup. It’s kind of… pitching-profile wise, as far as on TrackMan, it doesn’t look amazing. That’s probably because it’s kind of a ride changeup.”

Laurila: Can you elaborate on that?

Knack: “It stays very true, instead of having sidespin, which plays extremely well off my fastball, especially with the velo separation; I get about 10 to 15 mph of separation between the two. Here in the Fall League, my fastball has been 93-96 [mph]. I think I’ve topped out at 97.”

Laurila: And the movement profile is basically ride?

Knack: “Yes. I’ll ride it right around 20 [inches of vertical] and the last couple weeks it’s actually been about 22.”

Laurila: You mentioned the cutter being new. Is the rest of your repertoire the same as when you got to pro ball?

Knack: “Everything else is the same, besides a little bit of manipulating the slider to try to get a little bit more depth. I’ve tried to maybe get some extra sweep, as well.”

Laurila: I’ve read that you have a plus changeup. Which of your breaking pitches is better?

Knack: “My slider is definitely my best breaking ball right now, although my curveball has come a long way. It’s become more than just a steal-a-strike pitch, which is what I’ve primarily used it for. Out here, I’ve actually thrown it more with two strikes, kind of as a put-away. But the slider is definitely better.”

Laurila: Have you been working a lot with tech — TrackMan, Edgertronic, etcetera?

Knack: “Not a lot this year. Since the season started, it’s more so just working on the feel of my pitches, as opposed to them really trying to tailor anything. I did do some work with that last offseason, mostly with my slider. Again, that was to create a little bit more depth.”

Laurila: How have you gone about creating more depth?

Knack: “One thing I did was move my fingers up on the ball to try to stay a little more on top of it. The farther I am over the top of it when I’m releasing the ball, the more it seems to dive.”

Laurila: Last question: Do you identify as a power pitcher?

Knack: “Not here [in the Arizona Fall League]. Right now, I’m working more on my pitchability. But in-season, yes. I’m definitely out there trying to miss bats.”

David Laurila grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Mass. He authored the Prospectus Q&A series at Baseball Prospectus from December 2006-May 2011 before being claimed off waivers by FanGraphs. He can be followed on Twitter @DavidLaurilaQA.

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