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Braves select RHP Drue Hackenberg with the 59th overall pick in 2023 MLB Draft

The Braves go to a college pitcher for the second time in this draft

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

With their second round pick, 59th overall in the 2023 MLB Draft, the Atlanta Braves selected right-handed pitcher Drue Hackenberg out of Virginia Tech University. For the second straight round, the Braves dipped into the college ranks and selected a right-hander with their second selection of the draft.


DOB: 04/01/2002

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 220 lbs

Bats/Throws: R/R


Baseball America: #148

MLB Pipeline: #200

ESPN: #86

Introducing Drue Hackenberg

This is one that I do not think too many people had on their radar. Hackenberg is coming off of a very down season at Virginia Tech where he pitched to a 5.80 ERA across 85 13 innings. He did strike out 10.4 batter per nine but overall, the ERA is concerning. He lacks a truly dominant pitch as his go-to pitch is a sinker that sits at 93 and tops out at 95 MPH. Off of that he uses a slider that sits in the low to mid 80s. As things currently stand neither pitch grades out as plus with both offerings being about average. His slider will be the key to his development as it has the potential to become an above average offering down the road. He also features a changeup, but it is a below average pitch and if he wants to be a starter in the MLB it will have to at least get to average. His control is his best tool as he’s been a strike thrower throughout his career and has repeatable and simple mechanics.

First Reaction

The Braves love to jump on athletic pitchers, and Hackenberg comes from a family of high level athletes. The Braves aren’t typically keen on taking players with this profile early in the draft, but in this case they went down the boards potentially to save money to pay for their first round pick. Hackenberg had rough numbers at Virginia Tech but the peripherals and ground ball rates were well above his ERA. This will be a pick that just needs to be dug in on more, as there wasn’t much hype for Hackenberg to rise this high in the draft. Look for a player that the Braves tweak pitch mix on early in his career as they try to find an arsenal and third pitch that works for him. A high end scenario could see him performing similarly to Bryce Elder.

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