Braden Nett’s Step Forward In AFL Excites Padres


Many of the top prospects from the Padres’ 2022 draft class—Robby Snelling, Adam Mazur, Nathan Martorella, Jakob Marsee and Graham Pauley—zoomed to Double-A San Antonio by the end of 2023.

Yet it was 2022 undrafted free agent righthander Braden Nett who was the talk of the Arizona Fall League. 

“That’s the best part of player development—when a young player takes charge of his own career and starts to figure it out,” Padres assistant farm director Mike Daly said. “You see it start to bubble and then you see their true skills and talent come forward.” 

The 21-year-old Nett had AFL scouts buzzing with a mid-90s fastball and a power breaking ball. He struck out 21 through 17.1 innings, though his command was still a work in progress after throwing just 40.1 innings—most of them in the Arizona Complex League—during the regular season.

Nett did not pitch much at St. Charles (Mo.) JC and ran up a 6.48 ERA in the MLB Draft League in 2022. After going undrafted, he signed with the Padres for $10,000 that summer. He threw just three ACL innings before being shut down to strengthen his shoulder.  

Nett resurfaced in June this year in the ACL with a 70-grade fastball up to 99 mph, a potential out-pitch sweeping slider and a developing changeup.

He flashed potential with 45 strikeouts in 40.1 innings, but he also walked 37 and ran up a 4.46 ERA in 14 appearances, the final three for Low-A Lake Elsinore.

Nett’s command of the strike zone took a step forward in the AFL, where he penned a 16-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his first three appearances and had an overall mark of 21-to-10.

“He’s a young guy who hasn’t pitched a ton,” Daly said. “His fastball is electric. It’s a very good changeup and a good sweeper. Outside of his last outing, he’s throwing strikes out there.

“We’re very excited about Braden. He’s grown up a lot in a little more than a year for us.” 


— Outfielder Jakob Marsee, a sixth-rounder out of Central Michigan in 2022, ranked among the AFL leaders in several statistical categories, including OPS, hits, doubles and runs, as he built helium. 

— Graham Pauley, a 13th-rounder out of Duke in 2022, also shined in the AFL after leading the Padres’ system with 23 home runs.

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