Atlanta Braves 2023 season review: Dylan Dodd begins his MLB journey

Dylan Dodd had the opportunity to claim a spot in the Atlanta Braves starting rotation in 2023 but fell short. 

Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves
Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

At the start of the 2023 season, the Atlanta Braves were under pressure to fill the 4th and 5th slots of their starting rotation. To everyone's surprise, two rookies ended up filling those roles at the beginning of the season. Dylan Dodd, along with Jared Shuster, slotted into the rotation after impressive Spring Training performances.

On April 4th, Dodd made his MLB debut for the Atlanta Braves, facing an underperforming St. Louis Cardinal team with a lot of potential to do damage offensively. Dodd held them to a single earned run across five innings, did not walk a batter, and struck out three. As promising as this seemed for the southpaw, reality inevitably set in. 

The young lefty struggled heavily through the rest of his appearances in 2023. He ended with a 2-2 record and a 7.60 ERA in seven games where he tossed 34.1 innings. This means on average, Dodd went less than five innings per start. The Braves were most certainly looking for him to go deeper into games than that.

Dylan also struggled with control last season. He issued 12 total walks over his 34.1 innings of work. This also includes his debut where he did not walk a single batter. Essentially, in 6 starts, Dodd gave away 12 free passes. For someone who has a below-average fastball, this is a recipe for disaster. 

With control being such an issue and Dodd’s fastball sitting in the low 90s, major league hitters were able to put themselves in good hitter counts and take advantage of when he had to serve one over the plate. 

Dodd’s debut still gives the Braves hope for the future as he is still just 25 years of age and now with a taste of what the big leagues are like, he could make the necessary adjustments to give the Braves another great depth option. Albeit 7 games, that little bit of experience could go a long way for him.

The biggest key to success for Dylan Dodd is learning to pitch to contact effectively. Pitching seems to have become a lost art for guys with a fastball in the low 90s. However, with a solid Atlanta defense behind him, all he needs to do is locate his pitches well. This would help create weak contact and get outs at a more efficient rate. 

That's going to be the recipe for success for Dodd to take his performance to the next level. Atlanta's rotation is pretty much locked up for 2024 but anything can happen. through the season and Dodd needs to be prepared to get the call at any moment.

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