The 2011 season hasn’t been the best year for some of the pitchers taken in the 2009 draft class. Sixth round pick Zack Von Rosenberg, who signed for $1.2 M, has a 6.58 ERA in 94.1 innings this year, and has been hit hard pretty consistently. Seventh round pick Trent Stevenson, who signed for $350 K, has also been hit hard, with a 6.93 ERA in 49.1 innings in West Virginia, before being demoted to State College. Victor Black, selected in the compensation portion of the first round, has been recovering from an injury and is still in low-A. That’s not saying there haven’t been good results. Eighth round pick Colton Cain has been good. Second round pick Brooks Pounders has been good. Then there’s Zack Dodson.
The 6′ 2″, 190 pound left hander got off to a good start this year in his jump to full season ball. Dodson put up a 3.12 ERA in 34.2 innings, with a 7.8 K/9, a 2.6 BB/9, and an 0.5 HR/9. The most encouraging sign there was the walk rate. Dodson’s biggest issue coming in to the season had been a lack of control. Last year, that issue caused him to put up a 4.2 BB/9 ratio in 57.2 innings in State College. He improved on his walks in the second half of the year, walking ten batters in his final 31.1 innings. That was after he started the season off by walking 17 batters in his first 26.1 innings.
Unfortunately, after getting off to a strong start to the 2011 season, Dodson went down with a hand injury, causing him to miss almost three months at West Virginia, with about a month spent rehabbing in the GCL and State College. Dodson returned to West Virginia yesterday, and didn’t look like he missed a beat. John Dreker was at the game, and reported that Dodson was throwing 88-91 MPH, and touched 93 a few times. That’s pretty encouraging for a left handed pitcher who just turned 21 a few weeks ago.
When Dodson was drafted in the 2009 draft, he fell behind some of the bigger names like Zack Von Rosenberg and Colton Cain, mostly due to the bonuses each player received. As far as performance goes, Dodson has been one of the top pitchers so far from that 2009 draft. His lost time this year is a bit disappointing, as he’s only at 67 innings right now, rather than up in the 90 range like Cain and Von Rosenberg. However, his numbers haven’t been disappointing, and it’s a good sign to see him returning from his injury with a strong performance last night.