Reds select Wake Forest RHP Lowder in MLB draft

Published 11:18 pm Sunday, July 9, 2023

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds The Reds picked Wake Forest right-hander Rhett Lowder with their first pick of the 2023 Draft, No. 7 overall — their first time taking a pitcher in the first round since Nick Lodolo in 2019.

Lowder had a standout 2023 season for the Demon Deacons, the No. 1 national seed in the NCAA Tournament; he struck out 143 batters in 120 1/3 innings and pitched to a 1.87 ERA.

Lowder, MLB Pipeline’s No. 6 Draft prospect, had one of the best changeups in college baseball, a mid-80s offering with fade. His 92-95 mph fastball maxes out at 97 and features a lot of sink, allowing Lowder to miss bats and get a lot of ground balls.

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The 6-foot-2, 200-pound righty also improved his low-80s slider significantly in 2023. Lowder has one of the Draft’s highest floors and profiles as at least a durable mid-rotation starter.

In addition to the Lowder selection, the Reds had two other picks on the first day of the draft.

In the Competitive Balance Round A they selected RHP Ty Floyd (RHP) from LSU with the No. 38 overall pick. Then, in the second round, they selected Sammy Stafura (SS) of Walter Panas HS (NY).

Floyd’s fastball sat at 91-94 mph and topped out at 97 last spring, ticked up a couple of notches during the fall and is enhanced by quality induced vertical break and high spin rates that produce difficult carry up in the zone.

He unveiled a more reliable breaking ball in the fall with a low-80s slider with depth that’s superior to his downer mid-70s curveball. He also owns a low-80s changeup with fade but doesn’t use it very often.

A right-handed-hitting middle infielder, Stafura has gained strength since the summer and that has shown up in his performance.

He can drive the ball to all fields, with the ability to hit it hard the other way at times, but it’s strength over bat speed with a bit of a stiff swing, leading some to see him more as a power-over-hit type.