by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Florida Gators.
The Pittsburgh Pirates own the #1 pick in the 2023 MLB Draft which is scheduled for July 9th-July 11th in Seattle, WA. This draft could be the final piece of GM Ben Cherington’s puzzle to catapult the Bucs into a yearly contender.
In the next few weeks, Draft 412 will showcase the top prospects coming out in 2023.
Name- Hurston Waldrep
Pos-SP B-R T-R
HT/WT- 6’2” 210 lbs
Home – Thomasville, GA
Hurston Waldrep started his collegiate career at Southern Miss. During his freshman season, Waldrep was used sparingly in relief, and in 11 games, performed well, going 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA.
He became a starting pitcher in his sophomore year and showed that he was one of the top pitchers in the country. He went 6-2 with a 3.30 ERA, but more impressive was the fact that he struck out 140 batters in only 90 innings (14.0 strikeouts per 9 innings).
After his impressive sophomore season, Waldrep was invited to play for the Team USA national collegiate baseball team in the Netherlands. During his time in the Netherlands, Waldrep entered the transfer portal and became a Florida Gator, playing alongside probable top 5 pick, Wyatt Langford.
Coming into his junior season, Waldrep was considered one of the top pitchers in the 2023 draft class. Although the season has not gone as smoothly as he would have hoped, he still posted a record of 8-3 with an ERA of 4.54. Yet his fastball and accuracy have seemed to take a step back.
Waldrep has power stuff consistently sitting at 94-96 mph and topping out at 98 mph. He will get his share of strikeouts as he also has a sweeper and a nasty 12-to-6 curveball to keep hitters thinking.
Control has been an issue here, and it seems to get worse each season. This year, Waldrep has a 4.9 walks per 9 innings ratio which is just too high to be successful at the next level. His fastball lacks the kind of movement you would expect from his acceleration, allowing him to be hit hard at times
He’s the type of pitcher that needs to locate his fastball to be able to set up his secondary pitches. While he has slipped a little on some draft boards, he still has the tools to succeed.
Waldrep reminds Draft 412 of a young Tyler Glasnow when he pitched for the Pirates. Before Glasnow found his groove, his fastball would get hit hard and his 12-to-6 curveball was rendered useless. If Waldrep can find the movement Glasnow did, then the sky's the limit.
Hurston Waldrep is on a little bit of a slide right now, but his ceiling should allow him to stay in the top 20.
Round 1- Top 20/ #15 on Draft 412’s big board.