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Keith Law projects Florida RHP Hurston Waldrep to the Braves at No. 24

Waldrep had a 34.7% strikeout rate with the Gators in 2023.

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2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images

Mock Draft season rolls on with The Athletics’ Keith Law releasing the fourth version of his first-round projection. For the Atlanta Braves, Law projects Florida Gators right-hander Hurston Waldrep to Atlanta with the 24th pick.

This feels low given Waldrep’s pure stuff, with a splitter that’s one of the best offspeed pitches in the entire draft, but there seem to be only a few teams in the teens that are strongly on him, and he’s probably going after Lowder, Dollander, and now perhaps Floyd. Atlanta is linked to a bunch of player types – I’ve heard it with Mitchell, Wilken, Peete of course as a local kid – and some fairly random names for later rounds like North Carolina prep catcher Luke Stevenson and California prep shortstop Boston Baro.

There is a lot to like about Waldrep who began his career at Southern Mississippi before transferring to Florida. He started 19 games in 2023 and posted a 4.16 ERA while racking up 156 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings. Baseball America ranks him as their 18th best draft prospect in their updated Top 500.

His fastball sits 95-96 and has been up to as much as 99 mph. His split changeup might be one of the best offspeed pitches in the draft. He also throws a 12-to-6 curveball and a hard slider in the mid-80s. The downside is his control. He had a 12.7% walk-rate in 2023 and that brings some reliever risk into his profile. Still, he looks like an intriguing arm.

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