To say that Pfeifer’s path in baseball has been long and winding would be a gross understatement. He was suspended at Vanderbilt for the 2014 season, but got back going in the right direction in 2015 as a swingman for the Commodores, leading to the Dodgers taking the left-hander in the third round of the 2015 Draft. He was pitching out of the bullpen when Los Angeles shipped him to the Braves in June of 2016 as part of the Bud Norris trade. He pitched his way to Triple-A as a reliever but got stuck at the upper levels. In 2019, he was given the opportunity to go back down to the Florida State League to give starting a try, with positive results, capping off the year with a very strong performance in the Australian Winter League as a starter and a spot on the 40-man roster.
Pfeifer still comes after hitters predominantly with a two-pitch mix. His fastball sits in the low-90s but can touch 95 mph at times, but it’s his breaking ball that really stands out. It’s a plus pitch with outstanding spin rate, allowing him to miss a ton of bats with it. He has a changeup but it’s well behind his other two pitches as he didn’t use it as much in relief.
The southpaw threw a lot more strikes once he was stretched out in a starting role, slashing his walk rate while continuing to keep his strikeout rate high. It remains to be seen if Pfeifer can stick as a back-end starter, but he’s made himself more relevant with his 2019 transformation.