Braves' Dylan Dodd Hopes To Pick Up Where He Left Off
When the situation warrants it, the Braves aren't afraid to aggressively promote their prospects.
Lefthander Dylan Dodd was among the latest to skyrocket through the system, jumping from High-A Rome to Triple-A Gwinnett in 2022 to put himself on the cusp of a big league debut.
The Braves drafted Dodd as a 2021 third-round pick out of Southeast Missouri State. In his first full pro season, Dodd, now 24, posted a cumulative 3.36 ERA over 26 starts. He struck out 153 and walked 31 in 142 innings.
The 6-foot-2 southpaw offers a fastball that hovers in the mid 90s, along with a slider and changeup. Dodd's changeup is further along and already above-average, but his slider would be a difference-maker if he can hone his control.
None of those pitches is eye-popping, but each should be reliable. That makes Dodd a likely higher-floor prospect, a potential back-of-the-rotation starter
An improved slider could mean recalibrating those expectations.
A former two-way player, Dodd has drawn rave reviews as an athlete. His mental makeup is also a plus. Whether he can stick as a starter—and if he can pass some of the other arms in the Braves’ system—will be determined by how he fares this season.
Dodd impressed early in spring training by striking out seven through 4.1 scoreless innings as a non-roster invitee.
“That’s exactly what I’ve been watching in all the (simulated) games and stuff like that, is just a guy who threw strikes,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That’s really good, a young guy who goes out and pounds that strike zone like that.”
Dodd will almost certainly begin the year at Triple-A but could position himself for a callup if he picks up where he left off. He would be an option for a bullpen role or spot start.
— Hard-throwing righthander Blake Burkhalter, who a year ago was Auburn’s closer, had Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2023 season.
— One prospect entering an important season is 22-year-old outfielder Brandol Mezquita, who finished last year in High-A after a hot start in Low-A. He has the tools to become a solid prospect but hasn’t put it together. Mezquita has good speed and can handle any outfield spot but will need to develop more power.