The Cincinnati Reds have done what they done this season thanks, in part, to what they did in the draft in previous years. Guys like Hunter Greene, Nick Senzel, Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, and, most recently, Matt McLain and Andrew Abbott have all been major contributors to this team. Tonight, the Reds had the 7th overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, with hopes of adding to that list of contributors. With that pick, they went with one of the top college pitchers this season in Wake Forest right-hander, Rhett Lowder.
Lowder, who was not drafted out of high school, exploded up the draft boards this year after an absolutely dominant junior year at Wake. He went 15-0 this season, putting up a 1.87 ERA while walking only 24 batters and striking out 143, leading the Demon Deacons to the College World Series. For those of you that followed, he was locked in an epic battle with tonight’s first overall pick in Paul Skenes, in one of the best and most hyped College World Series games in a long time. Lowder shut down the eventual national champs, throwing 7 shutout innings and only needing 88 pitches to do it in a game that LSU would ultimately win in extra innings.
Lowder is considered a late bloomer. Sitting in the mid-80’s with his fastball in high school, Lowder gained strength and velocity at Wake Forest, bumping his fastball up to the mid-90’s while in college. He also uses an above average changeup and slider that sit in the mid-80’s. He stays in the strike zone and doesn’t walk many batters, so his game should translate well to the professional level.
54 seconds of Rhett Lowder's Filthy Stuff. pic.twitter.com/frQfrnJ7vq— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 25, 2023
It’ll be interesting to see how the Reds use him in 2023. He’s already pitched 120.1 innings this season, and with the later draft date it’s hard to see him getting much playing time this season. But with his upside and with his ability to throw strikes, look for him to be a fast mover over the next couple of years.