Watching Kevin Jepsen
Tommy wrote up Kevin Jepsen earlier. Here are some additional thoughts on the Rays’ newest reliever.
What separates Jepsen from many of the other right-handed relievers on the roster is his size. At 6-foot-3 and 230-plus pounds, he’s built more like a starter than a reliever.
Alas, stature is where the confusion ends. Jepsen’s mechanics work from slow-to-fast, with his body moving every which way and his arm plunging behind his back. Once his arm starts coming forward, he drops and drives and lands closed, propelling his back foot to skip diagonally as it trails him.
Jepsen’s arsenal is led by a well-above-average fastball that sits in the mid-90s and touches higher. he has surprisingly sound command over the pitch given his mechanical tics, and he consistently located to the glove side during the reviewed games. Of his two main secondary offerings, his solid-average low-to-mid-80s breaking ball was the more impressive pitch. Jepsen showed some ability to manipulate its break, depending on whether he wanted to locate it in the zone or use it as a chase offering. Lastly, the much talked about changeup was underwhelming. It comes to the plate in the mid-80s and features little in the way of movement or fade—if you didn’t know any better, you could confuse it for a slow fastball. Consider it a testament to Jepsen’s heater that it was as effective as it was.
Altogether, Jepsen looks as though he should help the Rays in a seventh-inning role over the next two seasons.