Image credit: (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
Entering the AFL season, the top pitching prospects were Ricky Tiedemann, Jackson Jobe and Tekoah Roby. Tiedemann and Jobe were both on BA’s Top 100 to end the 2023 season, and Roby could find himself there when the list is revamped heading into 2024.
One name not on many radars was Braden Nett, an undrafted free agent the Padres signed in 2022 who had pitched just three pro innings entering the season and walked 37 hitters in in 40.1 frames in a 2023 campaign split between the Arizona Complex League and Low-A Lake Elsinore.
When you look at the control numbers, it’s understandable that he made it through 20 rounds without being selected. When you see him in person, it’s hard to fathom that no team took a chance on him over the draft’s three days.
The 6-foot-3 righthander, who pitched collegiately at St. Charles (MO) JC, has a positively filthy repertoire, fronted by a fastball that sits in the mid 90s and has touched 99 mph this fall. He backs it up with a cutter, a sweeper and a changeup that each can get silly swings from hitters and should give him weapons to attack both righties and lefties.
Check it out below.
His delivery has a lot of moving parts to smooth out if he’s going to throw enough strikes to remain a rotation piece, but the stuff is there to dream on a very high upside.
The results, so far, have been quite good in Arizona through four outings with Peoria. Nett has 17 strikeouts through 15.1 innings, owns a 1.11 WHIP and has held batters to a .173 average.
Nett is a name to keep an eye on this winter, especially as we build out our National League prospect lists throughout November.