Spring Training is always a terrific time for prospects to make a name for themselves. Even with a team like the Atlanta Braves, an organization where the bulk of their big league spots is already accounted for, there is still room to impress. One who has made quite the impression is young Dylan Dodd.
Dodd was the Braves 3rd round selection in 2021 from Southeast Missouri State. A senior signing that most may have overlooked, but there were expectations he would make an impact right away in the Braves organization. There was a rough transition following the 2021 draft, but he stepped up his performance in 2022.
- High-A: 16 starts, 89 innings- 3.44 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 3.52 xFIP, 1.15 WHIP, 24.7% strikeout rate, & 4.6% walk rate
- AA: 9 starts, 46.1 innings- 3.11 ERA, 2.89 FIP, 3.87 xFIP, 1.27 WHIP, 28.4% strikeout rate, & 6.7% walk rate
He also made one start in AAA, allowing five hits, 3 runs, 1 HR, 1 BB, & 7 strikeouts. Overall, a splendid year for the lefty. He has now built upon that year with a great start to Spring Training, where he has thrown 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing only 3 hits, 7 strikeouts, and 0 walks. There was also an exhibition against the Dominican Republic where Dodd held his own for the first two innings before giving up 5 runs in the third. This should be taken with a grain of salt because the Dominican team rivals an MLB All-Star team. Just looking past that rough inning, Dodd is accomplishing everything one needs to do to make an impression.
This is for a guy who was not a widely discussed Braves prospect, even amongst Braves fans. A few of us love the Braves' minor leagues and kept an eye on Dodd because of his performance throughout 2022. Now, more Braves fans are starting to catch on during the Spring. Meanwhile, he is still not a name known on a national scale. MLB ranks him as the Braves' 10th prospect in the system, and we know how poorly the Braves system ranks across the league. The 10th prospect in the Braves system will not draw much attention.
Which is fine. Dodd impresses the right people. Brian Snitker has raved about Dodd this Spring. Snit the other day said, "I've loved that guy, from the first time I saw him throw. Just the command of the strike zone, the stuff is excellent. He's got a good mix, and he throws strikes."
Rightfully so, his scouting report gives him a 60 command. It is great having a guy with a feel for his pitches, which has been evident throughout Spring Training. It is why he is gaining more fans by the day. It is refreshing to watch him pitch and thoroughly pound the zone.
Dodd is kind of like when you find an artist or band that not many other people know about and fall in love with their music. Even when you try to tell others how good the music is, everyone brushes it off. Then the artist/band starts gaining some mainstream traction, and everyone becomes a fan and will say they have been fans for a long time.
We are on the verge of approaching that latter stage for Dodd. Eventually, more and more people will catch on to how good this guy is. It will ultimately lead to his ticket prices (value) rising in the coming months.
Dodd has made the most of his opportunity through the first couple weeks of Spring. It has even led to him getting some love and support for breaking camp with the Braves. We even have some projecting him for the Opening Day roster.
I think we see him start in Gwinnett. I know he has impressed, but I think a couple more months in AAA will treat Dodd well. However, with the slight uncertainty of when Kyle Wright might start the regular season, plus the ongoing uncertainty of the 5th starter spot, it is not impossible to see Dodd force himself into that 5th spot to begin the year.
No matter when or where the time comes, I envision we will see Dylan Dodd in an Atlanta Braves uniform in 2023. Whether as a starter or maybe in a bullpen role to ease him into the majors.
Whenever that time comes, I expect us to see the Dylan Dodd we fell in love with over the last 12 months. We will see another win by the Braves' player development and scouting department. Finally, when the mainstream crowd finally catches on to Dodd, we will be able to look back and now that he had already won us over months prior.