Dylan Dodd was the Atlanta Braves’ third-round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, and he came in to the system with expectations of immediate success. Though the road last season was not always smooth, he lived up to his billing and became one of the top pitching prospects in the organization.
Preseason Report Card
Dodd was seen as a candidate to make a quick ascent through the Braves system as a senior sign left-hander with advanced control and a good fastball. His fastball ticked up into the mid 90s with explosive vertical life. Combined with an above-average changeup, his arsenal gave Dodd all the makings of a player who could carve up lower-level hitters. Dodd needed to see improvements in his fastball command and slider action in 2022 in order to take the next step in his game.
What we saw in 2022
2022 started out a bit rocky for Dodd. Through his first six starts he held a 6.44 ERA and was struggling to pitch deep into games. He ran into trouble the second time through the order consistently, where his predictable pitch selection and lack of a dominant offspeed pitch became a detriment. As he got more adjusted to pitching at the High-A level, he started to see more success with his sequencing and was able to play up his deception on the changeup and slider. Over his next 10 High-A starts, Dodd had a 1.96 ERA with 60 strikeouts to only six walks in 59 2⁄3 innings.
When he was promoted to Double-A, success came more immediately. In nine Double-A starts Dodd saw his strikeout rate increase and had 55 in 46 1⁄3 innings while posting a 3.11 ERA. He finished out his year by allowing three runs over 6 2⁄3 innings with seven strikeouts in his lone Triple-A start, in what can only be described as a successful first full professional season. Dodd has garnered even more hype based on his performance last year and now stands as either an intriguing arm or intriguing trade piece whose biggest obstacle is the myriad of Triple-A arms the Braves already have.
Dodd separated himself last season with his fastball, a pitch that he’s continued to show command improvement with while also featuring strong metrics and a unique delivery that makes his pitches difficult to identify. His changeup is one of the better changeups in the system, but it’s not quite good enough to be utilized as a go-to offering in the same vein as changeups from pitchers like Jared Shuster and Ian Anderson. Dodd will need to see more improvement on his slider to stick as a starter, though it’s fair to say the pitch was tighter and more consistent by the end of the season. His goals next year are just to continue on the path he has currently taken, which may be enough to earn him a major league debut at some point, though that may come out of the bullpen. He also represents one of the Braves’ best trade pieces with a fastball that excites metrically-oriented organizations.