The Athletic names Braves rookie that will have biggest impact

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According to every prospect outlet, the Braves have one of the worst farm systems in baseball. That’s to be expected when a team completes multiple blockbuster trades and graduates as much talent as the Braves have in recent years. However, Atlanta is in this position because of their ability to consistently develop their youth. They are among the best in the business in that aspect, so fans can expect some rookies to contribute again in 2023, just maybe not quite like Michael Harris and Spencer Strider did last year.

The Athletic recently went through all 30 MLB teams and named the rookie that will have the biggest impact this season. The Braves nominee may not be a household name, but it’s someone fans will quickly become familiar with, Dylan Dodd.

In his first two spring appearances, the lefty had seven strikeouts with no walks and three hits allowed in 4 1/3 scoreless innings. A third-round pick in 2021 from Southeast Missouri State, Dodd will turn 25 in June; he’s not a kid the Braves must be careful with, and could help as a starter or reliever this summer. He has good command of a 90-93 mph fastball and two average-or-better secondary pitches in a changeup and a slider. In 2022, Dodd made 26 starts at three levels (25 starts below Triple A) and had 153 strikeouts with 31 walks in 142 innings. — David O’Brien

I talked about Dodd’s impressive Spring Training to this point yesterday after he tossed four scoreless innings against the Orioles with four punchouts. 

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.

Dodd’s not going to come to the majors and blow batters away like Spencer Strider did a year ago. Frankly, nobody is going to do that. Dodd projects more as a back-end of the rotation arm or bullpen piece, but that still could be very valuable to the Braves this season. With as much starting pitching depth as the Braves have, it will be difficult for a rookie to establish himself as a permanent part of the rotation, but it’s not impossible, and Dodd has shown he’s up for the challenge through the first half of Spring Training.

Another rookie to watch out for is top prospect Jared Shuster. He’s also enjoyed a fantastic Spring, tossing 8.2 innings and allowing one run with nine strikeouts. I would say the two arms are at about the same place in their development. Shuster has a little more upside, but they will battle it out all season for opportunities in the majors. I appreciate the nod to Dodd from David O’Brien of The Athletic, but my money is on Shuster being the Braves rookie to have the biggest impact in 2023.

Photo: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire


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