Braves pitchers Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd came into Spring Training this year highly regarded, but outsiders to make the rotation. As Grapefruit League action wraps, both rookies are going to be first-time starters that will play prominent roles for the 2023 season.
Alex Anthopoulos decided this spring he would turn up the heat on both young arms to see if they would melt. Neither did.
Steak and Sandra spoke to the Braves GM Tuesday morning on The Steakhouse, and Anthopoulos said this spring was about turning up the pressure on both young arms to see how they'd perform. Sending Bryce Elder and Ian Anderson down early was done by design, according to Alex.
"We did it early by design because one, we were sold on the two kids," said the Braves GM. "But we actually wanted to crank up the heat on them a little bit and see how they were gonna react."
Originally, the battle between the two was for the fifth starter spot. Kyle Wright was placed on the 15-day IL as he continues to ramp up after missing the early parts of the spring, meaning that both would added to the rotation after putting up very good numbers this spring.
Shuster, the Braves 2020 first-round pick out of Wake Forest, allowed only three earned runs in 18 2/3 innings pitched. Dodd, a 2021 third-rounder out of Southeast Missouri State, allowed four earned runs over 18 innings. Shuster and Dodd struck out 18 and 20 batters, respectively, while both walking only four.
Getting to Atlanta earlier than probably expected, Anthopoulos told Steak and Sandra that the plan was for both to be pitching in the majors at some point this season.
"They're gonna get to Atlanta this year, they're gonna be depth for us, and we're gonna need these guys," Anthopoulos told Steak and Sandra.
The Braves GM also told The Steakhouse how both guys had the support of another Braves pitcher who had a similar ascent to the majors last year, Spencer Strider.
"We really want to see if these guys melt, and he (Strider) basically told me there's no chance, these guys are not wired that way," said Anthopoulos. "They're not gonna melt. They're not gonna react. They're gonna be the same guys."
Shuster is on track to start the final game of the Nationals series, April 2. Dodd will get his first start April 4 in St, Louis, close to his hometown of Danville, Illinois.