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Chasing The Dream: The Zack Dodson Story and Interview

Zack Dodson is one of many prospects that has been added to the Pittsburgh Pirates system, now making it one of the top farm systems in baseball. In today’s feature we take a look at Zack Dodson’s progression through the Pirates system. Find out inside what Dodson did shortly after finding out he was drafted by the Pirates as well as how a broken had affected him last season.

Zack Dodson: Quick Stats

Team: Pittsburgh Pirates Twitter: @Doddie011

Height: 6′ 2″, Weight: 190 lb. Born: July 23, 1990 in Natalia, Texas, US (Age 21)

Drafted:  Pittsburgh Pirates in the 4th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft

Favorite Player Growing Up: Roger Clemens / Pete Rose

Chasing The Dream: The Zack Dodson Story

The Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system has went from a barren land of relatively no prospects just a handful of years ago to one of the top ten minor league systems in the game. In today’s feature we focus on one of the many talented young players now in the Pirates system, left-handed pitcher Zack Dodson. Dodson is one of many young prospects who the Pirates have added to their system who had strong commitments to college when selected by the Pirates.

Dodson on the mound with the State College Spikes

In 2009 the Pittsburgh Pirates began to implement a new draft philosophy by selecting a large amount of difficult to sign draft prospects. Among them was 4th round draft pick Zack Dodson out of Medina Valley High School in Texas. Dodson had a strong commitment to play college baseball at Baylor University. All indications leading up to the draft were that Dodson would be heading to college. However the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to negotiate with Dodson and the two sides reportedly came to an agreement which included a 600k signing bonus before the draft signing deadline. Once signed Dodson spent the rest of the 2009 season learning about the Pirates way and developing skills. He did get a small taste of professional action appearing in one game pitching one scoreless inning for the Gulf Coast Pirates.

Dodson spent the first half of the 2010 season back in extended spring training before being promoted to the State College Spikes once their season opened in June. With the Spikes he appeared in 15 games and got the start in 13 of them. For the season he ended up pitching in 57.2 innings and compiled a 2-6  record with a 4.84 ERA. Dodson struggled with his control in his first real taste of professional action walking 27 batters. On a positive note however he was able to keep batters from hurting him with the long ball, only allowing two home runs all season long.

The Pirates promoted Dodson to the West Virginia Power in 2011. Dodson got off to a solid start for the Power when injury struck. Dodson suffered a broken hand during a game in May and was sidelined for over a month of the season before he could get back on the mound. When he did he started a rehab assignment which would include stops back with the Gulf Coast Pirates and the State College Spikes. Overall he made seven rehab starts before he proved he was ready to face the competition of the South Atlantic League once again. Even though he returned to action the injury still effected Dodson. Before the injury Dodson consistently threw his fastball in the 90 to 93 range. When he returned to the Power however the fastball trended a few miles per hour slower. Minus suffering the mid-season injury Dodson and the Pirates should be happy with his performance. At West Virginia Dodson finished with a 6-4 overall record with a 2.56 ERA. He continued to keep opposing batters from hurting him with the long ball only allowing 3 home runs in 66.2 innings pitched. For the season Dodson also improved him control by lowering his walk rate and increasing his strike out rate.

2012 spring training is currently in full effect for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Dodson has already thrown his share of bullpen sessions and has taken the mound in a few minor league contests. If all goes well for Dodson this spring he could see himself promoted to the Bradenton Marauders of the Florida State League. As 2012 progresses keep checking back as we will be following Zack Dodson all season long. Be sure to follow Zack on Twitter at @Doddie011 and follow Chasing MLB Dreams at @CTD_Sypien for updates as well.

Seven Questions with Zack Dodson

What was it like being drafted? What were you doing when you found out? Did you do anything to celebrate? 
Being drafted was awesome, just a proud moment of my life. My parents and I  were actually watching it on the computer and luckily I was the 4th name called on the second day so we didn’t have to wait long. After hugging and being excited for about 10 minutes my dad sent me to work that day doing my summer job with him building decks haha. Best day of work of my life (lol).
Being drafted out of High School you had a chance to go play baseball in College. How hard of a choice was it to pass up college and start your pro career with the Pirates? What did the Pirates do to sell you on joining the organization? 
Honestly it wasn’t very tough. Baylor University would’ve been a lot of fun but my dream wasn’t to play college baseball, its to play in the big leagues. Fortunately the Pittsburgh Pirates have given me the opportunity to chase the dream.
Last season you broke your hand and missed some time. Did the injury affect you in any way when you returned to action?
It affected me a lot more than I expected. My hand healed up 100%, the tough part was getting back into to swing of things after having a lay off.
What pitches do you throw? What is your biggest strengths as a pitcher when you take the mound?
I throw a 4 seam fastball, curveball, and a change-up. I may not be a guy who is going to blow guys away with my stuff, but when I take the mound I take a lot of confidence with me. You’ve gotta believe you can do it before others put faith into you.
The Pirates have been drafted a lot of young high school arms. At the levels that you have been at, what do the Pirates stress the most in order for young players like yourself to develop?
It varies from guy to guy, but for the most part we stress command of the fastball. Having a willingness to throw it whenever and be confident that you will execute the pitch.
Is there a coach or an instructor in the Pirates organization that has really helped you in improving aspects of your game?
It’s impossible to single one man out because there have been many people who have influenced my development not only as a pitcher but as a young man.
Playing in West Virginia last year you go to experience “The Toast Man” Any stories or thoughts on this unique fan?
He sure knows how to heckle players (lol). When you think of the top hecklers of all time. His name will surely be close to the top.
A Few For Fun 
Favorite Baseball player growing up? Favorite non baseball athlete?
Roger Clemens and Pete Rose. Nobody played with more heart than them. Dale Earnhardt Sr. yes Nascar drivers are athletes (haha)
If you could buy any car/truck what would it be?
I would def go with a Porsche 911 turbo. So fresh!
I would like to thank Zack for taking some time out of his schedule to talk some baseball. I look forward to following him during the 2012 season and into the future. If you don’t already please follow Zack on twitter at @Doddie011 and catch up with what he is up too all season long.  Also please give us a follow for updates on Zack and other featured players all through out the season. You can follow our site at @CTD_Sypien

1 Comment on Chasing The Dream: The Zack Dodson Story and Interview

  1. Kayleigh Krueger // July 15, 2013 at 9:25 pm // Reply

    Zack is my cousin!!
    Me and my sister have known him since we were little

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Looking Back On 2012 | Chasing The Dream
  3. Live Look: Zack Dodson |

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