Dylan Dodd topped out at 86 mph as a senior at Bismarck-Henning (Ill.) High in 2016. His lack of velocity led to him receiving just a few college offers and attending Kankakee Community College (Ill.) as a two-way player, he said.
After thriving at the junior college level for two years, Dodd transferred to Southeast Missouri State University. Dodd has worked exclusively as a starting pitcher and developed into a well-regarded MLB draft prospect in his three years at SEMO.
Dodd was eligible for the 2020 draft. After going undrafted, the left-handed pitcher received interest as a free agent. He turned down a couple of offers, he said. However, the decision to return to SEMO for one more season has paid off. Scouts believe Dodd likely will hear his name called in the first seven rounds of July’s draft.
“It has been fun,” Dodd said. “It has been hectic at times. A lot is going on. It’s great and fun to keep up with it. The attention is good. I’m just excited to start playing again.”
Dodd posted a 5.57 ERA in 14 starts as a junior in 2019 and then recorded a 3.38 ERA over four starts in a pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
The NCAA granted all college baseball players an additional year of eligibility due to the pandemic. Dodd took advantage of the additional year as he returned this spring and posted a 3.17 ERA with 120 strikeouts and 17 walks allowed in 96 2/3 innings in 15 starts.
Dodd is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-hander who throws a two-seam fastball, changeup, slider and curveball from a high three-quarters arm slot and repeatable delivery.
He throws a low-90s fastball that touches 95 mph. His fastball features a solid spin rate and riding life. He also commands it well in all quadrants of the strike zone.
Dodd’s top pitch is his above-average circle changeup that features depth and movement. His slider and curveballs are average offerings. His slider generates swings and misses while he uses his curveball early in the count to steal a strike and get ahead of hitters.
Dodd has above-average control of his pitches and attacks the strike zone consistently.
“I think the way I compete and the way I attack hitters are my biggest strengths,” Dodd said. “I go right at them and make them earn it.”
As Dodd prepares for a pro career, he wants to refine his curveball and slider. In addition, he hopes to use analytics to develop his breaking pitches into consistent offerings that he can rely on to generate strikeouts.
“I am just trying to stay in shape and work on my spin and the grips of my breaking pitches,” Dodd said. “During this time, I am just breaking myself down with the Rapsodo technology in the time being before the draft. I am just preparing to play pro ball.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He has interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.