PEORIA, Ariz. -- The 2021 season did not go as expected for Victor Vodnik, who spent a couple of stints on the injured list and also struggled in the few innings he actually pitched.
The Braves sent Vodnik to the Arizona Fall League to get back on track, and the right-hander certainly looked like a top prospect in Peoria’s 6-0 win over Scottsdale on Thursday.
The Braves’ No. 20 prospect picked up his first win of the fall with five scoreless frames in an outing that was dominant from start to finish.
“He had a great rhythm and tempo,” Javelinas pitching coach Bo Henning said. “When he’s moving a little faster and not thinking and just trusting his stuff, that’s what you see.”
Vodnik, who faced the minimum in four innings, threw 35 of his 59 pitches for strikes and didn’t allow a runner to advance past first base. He struck out five, gave up two hits and didn’t issue a walk.
The 22-year-old sat in the upper 90s with his fastball throughout the outing, touching 99 mph on a couple occasions. That, coupled with a slider and a changeup that showed up late, kept the Scorpions hitters off balance throughout the game.
Vodnik set down the side in order in the first, retired 14 of the 16 batters he faced and struck out three of the final four.
“The last couple outings have been a lot better,” Henning said. “Today, with him having his slider, didn’t have his changeup until his last inning, and you saw how dominant he was in the fifth.”
A 14th-round pick from the 2018 Draft, Vodnik got his first taste of Double-A this season, but injuries limited the right-hander to just 33 2/3 innings.
He posted a 5.35 ERA and struck out 41 while walking 22 over 11 starts for the Mississippi Braves, but seemed to be turning a corner late with a combined nine scoreless innings over his final two starts of the season.
“It was a weird year for him where he was in big league camp, he was there early, he shined in big league camp,” Henning said. “Then to not have the season that you’re expecting, the confidence kind of wavers and for him to come out here and get some extra innings and gain that extra confidence back … that is why he’s out here.”
The Javelinas got off to a fast start, scoring twice via a pair of sacrifice flies, one by Pirates No. 4 prospect Nick Gonzales, in the first inning.
Peoria tacked on two more in the second as Scottsdale starter Seth Corry (SF 11) struggled to find the strike zone. Corry retired the first two batters of the frame, but then walked four straight before being lifted. Logan O’Hoppe (PHI 11) doubled in a run in the fifth and Gonzales capped the scoring with his second AFL homer, a solo blast to left in the seventh.