Braves: Dylan Dodd continues his impressive Spring Training

Daniel young Braves

The battle for the final rotation spot hasn’t gone as expected.

Mike Soroka has yet to make an appearance this Spring. There’s almost no way he will be ready for the start of the season. He’ll begin the year in Gwinnett and have to work his way to the majors.

Ian Anderson has arguably looked worse than the guy we saw last year. The sample size is small, but he hasn’t done anything to earn the Braves’ trust back after a forgetful 2022 campaign. If he doesn’t improve significantly over the last few weeks of Spring, I’m not sure how the Braves let him take the mound at the major-league level.

Bryce Elder has also struggled. He allowed four earned runs before even recording his first out of Spring. However, he’s bounced back decently since then. Of the three I’ve mentioned so far, Elder is the last one I’m worried about. With a couple of productive outings to end the Spring, I expect him to make the Opening Day roster.

However, with Kyle Wright unlikely to be ready for the start of the season and Kolby Allard heading to the IL, there’s a sudden need for another arm. I’m sure the Braves hope Anderson can prove to be that guy, but Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd are making a case to be on the Opening Day roster if Anderson continues to struggle.

Shuster, the Braves’ top prospect, pitched nearly flawlessly yesterday over 3.2 innings against the Pirates. He allowed just one hit, which was a home run off the bat of Bryan Reynolds. It’s the only run Shuster has allowed all spring over 8.2 innings in which he has nine strikeouts.

Dylan Dodd is a lesser-known prospect, but the 2021 third-round pick out of Southeast Missouri State has been lights out this Spring. Outside of a start versus the Dominican National Team, which features an All-Star lineup, Dodd hasn’t given up a run over 8.1 innings. On Monday, he pitched four scoreless against the Orioles and barely broke a sweat. I would never have penciled him in as an option to make the Opening Day roster prior to Spring Training, but he’s making an incredible case for himself. At the very least, we’ll see him at some point in Atlanta during the regular season.

It’s a good problem to have. The Braves have some holes on the roster, but starting pitching depth is not one of them. Given how injuries are inevitable and how volatile pitching performance can be, that depth will be critical for the Braves in their quest to repeat as NL East champions for the sixth consecutive season.

Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

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