While the Atlanta Braves MLB team is taking a well-earned break, the front office is busier than ever as the MLB draft is underway. With the MLB team seemingly set in the field, it was no surprise that the org chose to go pitching heavy with their draft with 7 of the first 10 picker were pitchers of the right-handed variety. In today’s piece, we will take a look at who was taken and hear from the expert on what the expert thought about each pick.

Braves Draft, Day 1: Pick 1

Hurston Waldrep, RHP U of FL

A 21 y/o RHP, Waldrep was expected to go in the top 15 but fell to the Braves at 24. Ronit Shah, the Braves assistant scouting director, dropped some high praise for the right hander:

“We love the pure stuff he has. He’s athletic. He’s got three plus pitches, maybe four. The splitter might be the best secondary pitch in the whole Draft for us.”

Ronit Shah

Waldrep, a Braves fan for life, was ecstatic that the fell to the Braves and took to Twitter to show his enthusiasm.

Braves Draft, Day 1, Round 2

Drue Hackenberg, RHP Va. Tech

For most scouting gurus, this was a bit of a surprise and could be an underslot signing as Hackenberg didn’t have the greatest results in college ball and was 200th out of 250 on MLB’s Draft list. However, Braves like family pedigree and 3 of Drue’s brother played professionally in other sports.

“I think looking at Drue Hackenberg, you got a two year proven college starter that was also at Team USA, and a really strong resume here with strike throwing. Throwing a little bit harder. This year was 93 to 96 with a plus curveball that he’s always had. We love the makeup, love the delivery. We think he’s going to be another athletic strike throwing starter for us with an out pitch breaking ball.”

Ronit Shah

Braves Draft, Day 1, Comp Round

Cade Kuehler, RHP Campbell U.

The Braves ended Day 1 with 3 college pitchers. Kuehler carried a 2.71 ERA in 73 IP his 3rd, and last year Campbell and struck out 91 while only walking 26.

Another guy that was on Team USA,” Shah said of Kuehler. “Another proven college starter, logged a ton of innings for three years at Campbell. He’s got a power fastball, sitting in the mid 90s. Misses a lot of bats with it. His fastball is definitely electric and that’s a big reason for why he’s had the success he’s had It’s definitely an out pitch. It’s a primary pitch and he can pitch off the fastball.

Ronit Shah

Braves Draft, Day 2, Rounds 3-10 with Shah Comments

Round 3: Sabin Ceballos, 3B Oregon

“He’s a guy that’s really kind of done it all,” Shah said of Ceballos. “Coming from Puerto Rico as a high school prospect. Went down to San Jack in Texas for a couple years, transfers to Oregon this year and played a really strong third base. He’s got tools. He’s got the plus arm and can really pick it at third. He’s showing us a lot more power this year than we’ve seen in the past couple years and is controlling that zone, taking his walks, making a lot of contact. We thought it was a pretty strong package there for a college hitter that could play a skilled position and provide value on both sides of the ball.”


Round 4: Garrett Baumann, RHP Hagerty HS of FL

“Bauman really came on this year. We identified him in the summer. He was everywhere on the summer circuit. Another guy that went to the combine, showed us some good stuff there also. Went to NHSI, a big high school tournament. He’s not a secret by any means. Another guy on day two for a high school player that we were able to get here and hopefully get signed.”


Round 5: Isaiah Drake, OF North Atlanta HS

“We’ve seen him quite a bit here. Another exciting high school prospect for us. Excited to see what he can do here. Drake has shown us more power than we’ve seen in the past. Went to the combine, went to the draft league. Clearly he loves to play. He can fly also, so we’re really excited about the power speed combination he has from the left side.”


Round 6: Lucas Braun, RHP Cal State Northridge

No comments from Shah, but here’s a video of Braun.

Round 7: Justin Long, RHP Rice

Long converted to pitcher this year and Braves believe there’s some “untapped potential” here. Looks like it could be another underslot pick.

“He really came on as the year went on. His velocity kept climbing and his breaking ball kept getting better. We’re excited to hopefully see him continue the trend line here.”


Round 8: Cory Wall, RHP William & Mary

Corey Wall, another guy that’s been up to 96, 97. His fastball really plays up in the zone and he throws a ton of strikes also. So excited about both those pitchers.”


Round 9: Riley Gowens, RHP Illinois

“He’s been up to 96 while showing an above average breaking ball. “Went to the draft league, been a starter at a big program.”


Round 10: Pier Olivier Boucher, OF Southern Illinois

“Plus runner. Believe he had like more than 20 home runs, might have stole 20 bases even. Can play center, left, right, and has power also. So I think all three of those guys, we’re excited to see what they can do.”


Thanks for reading on Day 1 & 2 of the Braves 2023 Draft. Come hang at The Bar to discuss this piece and many more.