clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2020 Atlanta Braves Player Reviews: Victor Vodnik

New, comment

Victor Vodnik is a guy who has arguably the best fastball in the Braves’ minor leagues. How did 2020 treat him?

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

As our player review series winds down, we come to a guy that we at Talking have liked for a couple years now in Victor Vodnik. The 6’0 on a good day righty features a high octane fastball that is easily his best pitch followed by secondaries that, as of the last time we saw him, lagged a bit behind and called into question whether Vodnik was going to be a starter or a reliever. Right now, our guess would be reliever because of the delivery and sheer lack of reps in the rotation, but lets take a closer look.

What went right? Well, getting added to the player pool as a 21 year old former 14th round pick is pretty high up there. The Braves like had him there for some added development time and, in a highly unlikely scenario, one could squint their eyes and see him in a big league bullpen in 2020. That did not end up happening, but it tells us how much the Braves’ think of this kid’s arm.

What went wrong? The biggest thing here is the lack of real games. Without a chance to stretch himself out against real competition, which was already increasingly unlikely, the chances that Vodnik is strictly a bullpen arm are very high. Don’t get us wrong, high quality arms in the bullpen are great...but the lack of reps this year and the subsequent lack of development does hurt Vodnik’s stock.

What to expect in 2021: If I am right and the Braves have, at least for now, settled on Vodnik as a reliever, he could be in Double-A next year. He has had some issues staying healthy, so the bullpen at the very least early on is probably a good idea. Vodnik has some real upside just like anyone who touches triple digits with their fastball. The trick here will be whether he can throw a good breaking ball consistently because the changeup may already be good enough given how it plays off his fastball. If he can show he has developed a breaking ball that he can command well, then we can start entertaining the idea that he is more than a bullpen arm. Next season....well, we will get to find out.