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Ronit Shah discusses Braves’ first round pick Hurston Waldrep

Shah called Waldrep’s splitter the best offspeed pitch in the draft.

2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Photo by Tyler Schank/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves went with a college arm in Florida right-hander Hurston Waldrep with the 24th pick in the first round. Waldrep was the 18th best prospect in the draft according to Baseball America and brings an intriguing package with perhaps the best offspeed pitch in the draft.

Braves assistant director of amateur scouting Ronit Shah met with the media after the pick and discussed what Waldrep brings to the table.

“We got a really athletic college starter with power stuff,” Shah said of Waldrep. “He’s been 95 to 99 with two plus breaking balls and one of the best secondary pitches in the draft perhaps with his splitter. We think it’s an out pitch and has a chance to miss a lot of bats at the big league level.”

“We were looking at Waldrep’s strengths, and we love the pure stuff he’s got. He’s athletic, he’s got three plus pitches, maybe four, even, and the splitter, like I said, might be the best secondary pitch in the whole draft for us.”

Waldrep went to high school in Thomasville, Georgia and Shah said that the Braves have had him on the radar for a long time.

“We’ve had Waldrep on the radar for years since high school. “He ended up going to Southern Mississippi and then been following him along since then. He was at Team USA last summer. We had our scouts see him this whole spring. We might have been at every single one of his starts even, to be honest with you.”

Atlanta had a number of options in which they could have went, but Shah said that Waldrep was at the top of their draft board among the available players.

“I think at the end of the day, there’s a lot of players on board and Waldrep was the best guy on our board when the pick came up. So, at the end day, you trust in our process that we’ve had here for a couple years now since going back years and years with the Braves always targeting pitching. The process is the same and at the end of day just trust in all the hours of work that our scouts have done, the front office has done, R&D has done since the beginning of the year. At the end of the day you feel pretty comfortable with your decision.”

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