The Pittsburgh Pirates have promoted left-handed pitcher Zack Dodson to Double-A. Dodson will make his debut with Altoona tonight. He had a 5.05 ERA in 87.1 innings in high-A, with a 39:31 K/BB ratio.
Dodson got off to a great start at the level this year, with a 3.04 ERA and a 16:6 K/BB ratio in 23.2 innings over his first four starts. He struggled during the middle of the season with a 13:20 K/BB ratio in 41.1 innings from late May to early July. In his last few outings, Dodson has pitched much better, with a 3.63 ERA and a 10:5 K/BB ratio in 22.1 innings.
When his stuff is on, Dodson features a 90-93 MPH fastball with good movement. He has also been working on a two-seam fastball this year that sits in the upper 80s. Dodson’s best pitch is his curveball, which has been inconsistent at times this year, but when it’s on it’s an out pitch. Dodson has struggled with his control in the past, but has done a better job the last two years commanding the fastball.
He didn’t have the numbers of guys like Nick Kingham or Eliecer Navarro, but Dodson does have good stuff for a lefty. He also just turned 23 about two weeks ago, so this somewhat aggressive push seems appropriate. Dodson was a member of the 2009 prep pitching group, and is currently the only pitcher from that list who could make it as a starter in the majors. He’s going to have to work on the consistency of his curveball and continue to improve with the fastball command to make that happen.