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Braves potential fifth starter facing make-or-break moment


Dylan Dodd is fighting to win the Braves’ fifth starting spot in the rotation and now he has a true make-or-break moment before him. 

There have been a multitude of unexpected turns throughout Spring Training as the Atlanta Braves have tried to shore up the fifth starter role in their rotation. Expectations entering the spring were that Michael Soroka, Ian Anderson or Bryce Elder would take up the mantle. But injuries and under-performance have caused a change of plans.

Now, it’s up to two of the team’s top prospects, a pair of 24-year-old southpaws in Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd, to compete to get the spot in the rotation come Opening Day. And Dodd now faces a true make-or-break moment in his young career and if he’s going to get the call that he’s on the big league roster.

On Saturday evening, Dodd will be the starting pitcher against the Philadelphia Phillies. And while it’s just another Spring Training game on the surface, with the regular season now less than two weeks away, it could be a season-defining outing for the lefty.

Braves news: Dylan Dodd faces make-or-break start vs. Phillies

Dodd, to put it plainly, has been a stud so far in Braves Spring Training. The 24-year-old has three appearances and one start for Atlanta down in Florida and has yet to allow a run over 8.1 innings. Perhaps just as impressively, he’s also struck out 11 batters in his outings as well, doing so at an impressive rate.

Last year, the southpaw made his way up the Braves’ farm system, spending time in High-A, Double-A and Triple-A, though he made only one start in the latter level. Even still, he posted a 3.36 ERA over his 26 starts throughout the minors with 153 strikeouts over 142 innings, again averaging more than a strikeout per inning pitched.

Shuster is hefty competition as he’s considered the top prospect in Atlanta’s system, but that’s what makes Dodd’s start against the Phillies so pivotal to his chances to become the team’s fifth starter. If he delivers again, it’s going to be quite difficult for Brian Snitker and other decision-makers to deny him the chance to make the Opening Day roster based on his spring performance.

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