The Atlanta Braves‘ fifth spot in the rotation will not look like anyone’s early predictions. Initially, we all had Michael Soroka and Ian Anderson penciled in with some possible competition from Bryce Elder.
Anderson and Elder were optioned to Triple-A and Soroka has had hamstring issues this spring. He has yet to pitch in a game and will likely not be ready by Opening Day. The Braves have waited long enough to get Soroka back on the mound, they will not rush him now that he is so close.
I need to make sure it’s gone. We’re not risking pushing things a couple days early to potentially set things back again. There’s no point in that. There’s no frustration, there’s just the way forward. That’s it.Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Surprisingly, the race has come down to two left-handed prospects. Jared Shuster is the Braves’ number one prospect out of Wake Forest. Dylan Dodd is currently the 10th best prospect, according to MLB.com.
The two lefties have been neck and neck this spring. Shuster increased his stock in a big way with a magnificent performance against the Red Sox. Here’s an inning by inning breakdown of his performance.
Dylan Dodd & Jared Shuster Spring Stat Comparison
Dylan Dodd: 8.1 IP | 0.00 ERA | 5 H | 0 R | 0 ER | 11 SO | 0 BB
Jared Shuster: 12.2 IP | 0.71 ERA | 5 H | 1 R | 1 ER | 16 SO | 2 BB
Today, it is Dylan Dodd’s turn as he takes the mound against the Phillies. Dodd has not allowed a single run or even a walk over his eight innings this spring.
Why Dylan Dodd May Beat Shuster for Fifth Spot
Shuster has the higher pedigree and since the Braves expect Michael Soroka to (hopefully) claim the fifth spot when he’s healthy (hopefully), they may not want to start the clock on Shuster. If both pitchers continue to dominate this spring, the Braves will have an interesting decision to make. This is a good problem to have.
Atlanta Braves Have Serious Pitching Depth
Braves fans have to feel better about starting pitching depth after watching these two battle so far this spring. Ian Anderson is still working on adding breaking balls (which looked promising), Bryce Elder is a solid option, and Soroka is coming. Add in Dodd and Shuster then slot one in behind the rock solid top four and the Braves have one of the most formidable rotations and deepest rotations in the game.
Braves country will be paying close attention to Dylan Dodd’s performance today against the Phillies at 6:05 PM. You can watch the game on MLB.tv.