by J.T. Toth
Photo of Rhett Lowder courtesy of The Fish Stripes.
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.
Team- Wake Forest
HT/WT- 6’2” 200 lbs.
Home – Albemarle, NC
Coming out of high school, Lowder was one of the top prospects out of North Carolina. While at North Stanly High School, Lowder put up some dominating seasons. In his sophomore year, Lowder would go 9-2 with a 1.03 ERA. His Junior year was even more impressive as he went 9-0 with 0.61 ERA and struck out 115 in 68.1 innings. Lowder’s senior year was shortened due to Covid-19 and he was unselected in the 2020 Major League Draft, leading him to enroll at Wake Forest.
Lowder, while at Wake Forest, has steadily gotten better each year. His freshman year, Lowder posted a 4-2 record with a 6.12 ERA. He would have a breakout season during his sophomore year that saw him post an 11-3 record with a 3.08 ERA. He was named 2022 ACC Pitcher of the Year. This season, Lowder has reached an elite level. He is a perfect 11-0 with a 1.73 ERA and has 81 strikeouts in 68 ⅔ innings.
Lowder’s tool box contains a three-pitch mix of fastball, slider, and a dominating changeup. He has excellent mechanics, and his command is at the top of the class. The changeup is one of the best in the country and is devastating to left handed hitters. His fastball sits in the mid-90’s with an aggressive sink to it.
With a repeatable delivery, Lowder makes it very difficult for hitters to pick up on his changeup and makes his mid-90’s fastball play at a higher speed. Lowder is a gamer who always rises up to the better opponents. Always his own harshest critic, Lowder is always intensely involved in the game.
Lowder throws from across his body, which down the road could lead to arm problems. He may not have the ceiling of the other top 20 pitchers like Skenes or Dollander.
Mike Clevinger, meet Rhett Lowder. Lowder not only throws like Clevinger but looks like his doppelganger. Their hair and changeup could not be separated in a police line-up.
Rhett Lowder is a gamer who never backs down from a challenge. He will go in the top 10 and could be in the majors within 2-3 seasons.
Round 1- #8 on the Draft 412 list.