The Pirates agreed to terms with their 2009 4th round pick, LHP Zackry Dodson, in early August, a week before the deadline, signing him for $600K, nearly tripling the slot recommendation (though it was reported that he was holding out for a $1M bonus). The Natalia, Texas native had a scholarship to Baylor awaiting him.
Like another dog-days signee, Zack Von Rosenberg, he got an inning in at Bradenton of the GCL, and notched his first paid-to-play strikeout.
Dodson, 19, was 10-0 with a 1.20 ERA in 64-1/3 innings pitched his senior year at Medina Valley High. He struck out 129 batters and walked 36, and was named the San Antonio Player of the Year. Last season, he went 13-0 with a 0.59 ERA and 149 Ks as a junior, earning him a spot on the 2008 Louisville Slugger All-American Team.
Like most high school players, he also swung the bat with some authority, compiling a .465 average with 11 homers in 101 at-bats as an outfielder. But the scouts agree his future is on the mound.
Dodson, 6-1, 175 pounds, has a 91-94 MPH fastball and a usable curve, with a work-in-progress change up. Baseball America listed him as the #27th prospect in Texas, but he wasn't ranked in their top 200 overall. He was also unranked by Rivals.com.
He fits into the Pirate draft strategy of signing young arms with high upside, and filled a need as a left-hander in an organization that suddenly was bereft of southpaws, which explains the fourth-round reach. But Dodson is still raw, and needs a lot of work to smooth out his mechanics.
He just finished up a stint in the Florida Instructional League, with the rest of the first dozen picks of the 2009 draft class. Where he'll begin 2010 is still up in the air, and depends on how well he tuned his technique. Dodson could start anywhere from Bradenton to West Virginia, although State College seems to be the likeliest jumping-off point for his Pirate career.
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