See Also: 2023 MLB Draft Database
Draft Theme: Flamethrowers.
Atlanta’s scouting department secured one of the most talented arms in the class when it picked RHP Hurston Waldrep with the 24th pick of the draft, and then continued to load up on high-octane pitchers throughout the first two days. In fact, each of the eight pitchers that the Braves took inside the top 10 rounds have touched at least 96 mph with their fastballs. Atlanta has an excellent reputation as a pitching factory, and plenty more firepower was just added to the system.
Most Interesting Day 2 Pick: RHP Garrett Baumann, 4th round
An extra-large righthander with a massive, 6-foot-8, 240-pound frame, Baumann showed an intriguing fastball/changeup combination during the 2022 showcase circuit. He’s got a loose and easy operation for his size and moves well on the mound, though he could refine his direction and lower half mechanics in the future to add more consistency. He lands in a heavy crossfire position, with an open toe point and three-quarters slot. Baumann throws his fastball in the 91-93 mph range for the most part and has touched 96 with some running life. His best secondary is a low-80s changeup that pairs nicely with his fastball and has heavy fading life to his arm side and good tumble when he spots the pitch down. Baumann’s feel for spin is rudimentary. He has thrown a slider in the 79-82 mph range with some flat, sweeping action, but the pitch lacks tilt, bit and consistency. To Baumann’s credit, he has added power to the breaking ball, which earlier in the summer looked more like a slurvy curve in the mid-70s, but he doesn’t project to ever have a wipeout breaking pitch. He’s more of a control over command pitcher but has a solid feel for the zone—particularly with his fastball and changeup. Baumann is committed to Central Florida and has a chance to profile as a workhorse starter with plenty of arm strength.
Most Interesting Day 3 Pick: OF Kade Kern, 17th round
Kern has put together a strong 135-game career at Ohio State with a career average of .302, with 36 doubles, 17 home runs and 101 RBIs. This spring the physical, 6-foot, 200-pound outfielder hit .283/.402/.470 with six home runs, 11 doubles and walked at a 15.1% rate compared to a 19.1% strikeout rate. Those walk and strikeout rates are notable, as Kern significantly improved his approach and swing decisions this spring compared to his first two seasons, more than doubling his walk rate from 2022, with a strong in-zone contact rate of 86% to go with it. Kern does not have much of a load and uses a small toe tap in the box, and he lets his natural strength and quick hands do the work. He takes a direct path to the baseball and has power to all fields, with plus power especially to the pull side. Kern’s running ability allows him to succeed in center field, but given the lack of arm strength he might fit better in left field in pro ball.