Dylan Dodd is having a standout summer for the Hannibal Hoots both pitching and hitting, but he remains humble about his success.
Make no mistake, Dylan Dodd takes pride in his accomplishments.
The Hannibal Hoots slugger leads the team in a bevy of offensive categories through 39 games of the Prospect League season, including batting average (.333), RBIs (23) and extra-base hits (11).
The two-way standout has also recorded a team-high four wins on the mound to go along with an impressive 2.01 ERA, striking out 49 and only walking six in 35 2/3 innings.
But the junior, signed to play at Southeast Missouri State University this coming year, tries not to let those numbers go to his head.
“I try to always stay confident, but I try not to stay overconfident,” explained Dodd. “I try to stay as humble as I can. I'm proud of what I've been doing, but I don't like to be over the top.”
Dodd burst onto the scene in America's Hometown this summer by posting hits in 12 of his first 13 games. He collected two or more hits his first four times penciled into the lineup.
The left-hander drove in five runs during a 15-2 home victory on June 4 and hasn't stopped mashing since.
Three-and-a-half weeks later the Indiana native provided the exclamation point to a 10-2 win with a no-doubt grand slam to right field that enlivened the crowd at Clemens Field.
He often is the designated hitter in between his starts on the hill.
“Dodd has been great for the team this summer,” Hannibal manager Clayton Hicks said. “He's definitely our MVP to this point and has excelled offensively and on the mound. He's a good kid. He continues to work hard and is very humble about his success.”
Dodd has pitched six or more innings in all but one start this season and has never surrendered more than two earned runs in an outing.
He defeated his hometown Danville Dans on Opening Day by striking out eight over six shutout innings.
Working with a fastball, changeup and curveball — his favorite pitch — Dodd consistently takes control on the mound.
Opponents bat just .182 against him.
“The biggest thing is throwing first-pitch strikes to get ahead and be able to control,” Dodd said. “I try to narrow the walks down as much as I can. When you're walking people, it's never a good thing.”
Hicks mentioned Dodd achieves such great success as a pitcher because he rarely beats himself.
“When you look at the guys having success, they're in counts that are winnable and favor them,” the manager said. “He's figured that out and has performed at a high level.”
The standout admits he continues to learn not to dwell on his shortcomings.
He found himself slumping without a hit in four games in late June, struggling to find a way on base.
He worked out of the funk to the tune of a six-game hitting streak.
“Baseball is a game of failure,” Dodd said. “Going 3-for-10 is really good and you fail 70 percent of the time. You have to understand you're not going to get a hit every time out. You're not going to be great every time. You have to live with that.”
Hicks noted Dodd's ability to hit to the opposite field creates a stiff challenge for opposing teams.
“Dylan is very comfortable going the other way,” the skipper said. “A lot of right-handers try to pitch him outside afraid to go into his power, but he is comfortable going the other way. It closes off doors for pitchers. He waits for them to make a mistake and figures out a way to beat them.”
After two years at Kankakee Community College, including a National Junior College Athletic Association championship as a freshman, Dodd will transition to Cape Girardeau at SEMO this fall.
But first things first, he hopes to lead the Hoots to the playoffs in the franchise's inaugural season.
“We've got a great group of guys building as a team and getting to know each other, which is making us a lot better as a whole,” Dodd said. “We're in the hunt now. There's no reason to not make the playoffs.”