The Cincinnati Reds used the 7th overall pick in the 2023 MLB draft to select right-handed starting pitcher Rhett Lowder out of Wake Forest. The 21-year-old went 15-0 this past season, making 19 starts and throwing 120.1 innings.

After going undrafted in the shortened 2020 draft, Rhett Lowder went to Wake Forest. He struggled as a freshman, posting a 6.12 ERA while throwing 67.2 innings – mostly as a starter. But he got better as a sophomore and lowered his ERA to 3.08 as he improved his home run rate, his walk rate, and he struck out 105 batters in 99.1 innings. This past year was his best yet. Lowder dominated, posting an ERA of 1.87, lowered his home run rate once again, improved his walk rate again, and he improved his strikeout rate, too.

With Lowder it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of projection left in his game. But he’s also considered to be the most advanced pitcher in the entire draft and he’s got a good amount of upside thanks to three above-average or better pitches in his arsenal.

Rhett Lowder Scouting Report

Fastball: The pitch works in the 92-95 MPH range and he will top out around 97 MPH. The pitch also has good movement to it, showing good running action.

Slider: An above-average offering that works in the mid-80’s. The pitch has good biting action to it.

Change Up: His best offering, a plus pitch that works in the mid-80’s in terms of velocity. It shows good fading action. Some rate it as the best change up from any pitcher in the entire draft.

While Lowder has three above-average or better pitches, it’s how he uses them and how he pounds the strikezone that really separates him from the other pitchers in this year’s draft. He’s considered to be the most polished pitcher in the draft and he could be one of, if not the fastest movers among starting pitchers in the draft, too.

College Statistics

2021 19 4 2 6.12 67.2 79 14 22 78 1.49
2022 20 11 3 3.08 99.1 91 9 26 105 1.18
2023 21 15 0 1.87 120.1 90 9 24 143 0.95
Career 30 5 3.29 287.1 260 32 72 326 1.16

The Reds have done well when it comes to selecting starting pitchers in the top 10 over the last 20 years. It started with Homer Bailey in 2004 (7th overall) and was followed a few years later by Mike Leake (8th overall) in 2009. It would be a while until they had another pitcher selected in the top 10, but they went with Hunter Greene (2nd overall) in 2017 and then two years later picked Nick Lodolo (7th overall).

Cincinnati will have two more selections tonight. They have the 38th overall pick – a competitive balance round A pick – and the 43rd overall pick (their 2nd round pick).

54 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Sounds like a good pic that will help the Reds sooner than later hopefully.

  2. Rick

    Love it! We’ll likely see you in Cincy in 2024!!
    Fast track “potential “

  3. Jedi Joey

    Definitely sounds like a guy who won’t take long to help contribute at the big league level. I like it!

  4. Oldtimer

    Jim O’Toole, University of Wisconsin 1958 then Reds 1959.

    Jim Maloney, HS 1959 then Reds 1960.

    Gary Nolan, HS 1966. Reds 1967.

    Don Gullett, HS 1969. Reds 1970.

    Mike Leake, Arizona State one year. Reds the next.

    It’s possible.

    • Rut

      Came here to say this is a very Mike Leake-esque pick… and I am 100% ok with that given the slot and the other available options.

      • David

        Exactly. Lowder pitched a fair amount of innings this year…as Mike Leake did at Arizona in 2009. So unlikely to pitch with the Reds this year (as they could use him!!). But Mike Leake was in the rotation in 2010 for the Reds, never spent time in the Minors prior to his ML debut (later did some time in the minors for rehab or something).

      • Thomas Atwood

        From a pitch mix, he sounds like Luis Castillo less 3 MPH. I’ll sign up for a #3/#4 version of him.

      • JayTheRed

        Kinda wonder if they would start him AA this year and then he might be ready by next year with a good spring training.

  5. Redsvol

    Very impressive in his game against Skenes in the CWS. Uses deception and control rather than pure gas. I didn’t expect him to be left @ #7. Very polished college pitcher. I also liked the Dollander kid from Tennessee but there is risk he can’t develop a changeup and becomes a reliever. No such risk with Lowder.

  6. Rick

    What say you Doug? 2> 5 inning starts to get him up to 130 innings & then send him Goodyear?

  7. CI3J

    Seems like a solid pick. Doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, but he can control what he has with pinpoint accuracy.

    Seems like he needs to develop a 4th pitch, though. Maybe a sinker?

    Could be a solid mid-bottom rotation starter really soon for the Reds.

    • Tim

      We just got skunked by a pitcher without overwhelming stuff. This type of pitcher tends to have fewer issues over time

      • CI3J

        Yeah, he’s very polished. Like I said, he can locate his pitches wherever he wants them to go, which is a huge plus skill to already have. He also has good movement on all of his pitches, and a massive speed difference between his change and fastball.

        The question will be was the stuff he was using to fool college hitters be enough to fool professional hitters? That’s why I said maybe he could develop a 4th pitch just to give hitters something else to think about.

      • David

        Wade Miley pitches about every other year at this point in his life. So he has issues with being fit to pitch.

        But every pitcher has wear on his arm, and some guys are just super – specimens. And honestly, most successful ML pitchers are physical freaks. They throw a 100+ pitches every fifth day, some with maximum exertion. That would wreck +99.99% of us.

  8. RedlegScott

    Hey guys, at #38, let’s welcome RHP Ty Floyd from LSU to the fam. Another great selection, hopefully. Had a game where he fanned 17.

  9. Tim

    3rd pick Stafura only struck out once in 110 plate appearances. That’s unheard of at any level

  10. LT

    Can Lowder and Floyd start for the Reds after ASG break? 🙂

  11. Soto

    I have no idea how good these guys are because I have not seen them pitch one inning of baseball. But I will say this. I am starting to trust the Reds front office and scouting team. They have been doing a phenomenal job in the draft over the last 5 years or so. I think the Reds are coming into a golden age just like the Bengals. It’s a great time to be an Ohio sports fan. Go Reds. Go Bengals. Go Buckeyes. Go Bobcats. I’m proud to be from Ohio.

    • TR

      Go Bearcats & Red Hawks and let’s not forget FC Cincy in their new West Side stadium.

      • Soto

        As an OU Alum and proud Dad of a current Bobcat. I will never say “Go Redhawks”. But to each his own. Lol

      • cartel

        I like your comments much better. Lets focus on what goes on in Cincy surrounding region and not bring in that school to the north that would not piss on Cincinnati if it were on fire.

      • Jimbo44CN

        From an OU family (4 of 5 went to OU) and no, not going to say go Redhawks, or go THE Ohio State Bucksomethings.

  12. Tyler Hawk

    Both pitchers taken in the draft have to be better right now with no minor league experience then Dream Weaver at the MLB level … there I just said what we’re all thinking.

  13. DHud

    Here’s to dreaming of the reds finding themselves in the thick of it and having him as a Brandon Finnegan type situation

  14. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I read somewhere by either a former major league pitcher or pundit that Lowder is ready to go now.

    Given that statement, if so, fine. I would consider having him go into the minors for some time anyhow. I believe I remember hearing that College level ball is equivalent to AA. So, start him there, and see what happens. If he aces it and quickly moves up, fast track him.

    Just don’t to the “Alright, so you are going to start in Rookie Ball, then the next season is when you will start to see some real professsional baseball in Daytona. Then, the season after that. . .” Then, we won’t be seeing this guy till he’s about 26-27.

    I mean, even AA. Even though he’s showing what he can do now up here, if we hadn’t need him up here, I’m confident he’d still be down at AA, maybe just moved to AAA, finishing the season there, then starting at AAA the next season. I believe we saw AA when he was still 23, 2.5 seasons in the minors. If it wasn’t for our need for starting pitching, I’m confident we wouldn’t have seen him up here still he was 25 at least.

    Not that AA is the norm for success up here (2.5 years in the minors), but still. . .

    • Doug Gray

      College ball is not remotely close to AA. Teams in the SEC would get absolutely smoked by teams in A-ball.

      Lowder might throw like 20 more innings this year, at best. He hasn’t pitched in like 5 weeks. He hasn’t signed yet. The Reds aren’t going to just have him go out and start throwing 2-3-4-5 innings at a time after signing, either. They may ramp him up and get him a few starts in Daytona or Dayton where he pitches 2-3 innings before the season comes to an end.

      He’ll probably go the Matt McLain route – start next season in Chattanooga and let his performance dictate things from there.

      • AllTheHype

        Lowder pitched 18 days ago against LSU.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Hi, Doug,

        When the pundit said now, I’m sure he didn’t mean something like right after the AS break. He probably meant next season.

        As for with the AA comment, I was only going by what I had heard. It definitely fits some. For the players, it fit Leake and several others.

      • Old Big Ed

        Lowder pitched 18 days ago, but I think it was with Canadian money, so it computes to 5 weeks U.S. He is hoping to avoid being paid in Canadian money, though.

        I agree that he is unlikely to pitch much this year in the Reds’ system.

    • Oldtimer

      I believe you were misled that College Baseball = AA level. Maybe A but more likely Rookie level.

      Leake is the only Reds P that I remember who went from college the year to Reds next year without any time in the minors.

      The only P who I can remember going straight from draft to MLB same year was David Clyde. There are probably a few others.

      Jim Maloney – one summer in D, one year in AA, then Reds (alternating with AA 2 years).

      Jim O’Toole – one year in AA, next year on the Reds. O’Toole won 20 games at AA.

      Gary Nolan – one summer in A, next year on the Reds.

      Don Gullett – one summer in A, next year on the Reds.

      I doubt Lowder plays much this year. Maybe Reds in 2025 if all goes well.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Again, I never said “same year”. I’m sure the guy I read meant next season.

      • Dewey Roberts

        Jack Armstrong went from Oklahoma one year to the Reds the next year.

      • Dewey Roberts

        Of course, Armstrong spent some time in the minors the year he was drafted.,

      • Votto4life

        Oldtimer –
        I may be wrong, but didn’t Ryan Wagner go straight from college to the Reds?

        Of course, he was also a reliever.

      • Doug Gray

        You are wrong. It was the same year he was drafted, but he pitched in the minors.

        Times were different then. The draft was held in early June and some guys never actually stopped pitching. Guys drafted today haven’t pitched in 4-7 weeks depending on when their season ended. Used to, when there wasn’t a huge layoff like this, some guys would actually go out and pitch after the draft. Now? Now guys have long layoffs, some guys sign and don’t pitch at all, and the ones that do tend to throw like 5-15 innings before the season is over.

  15. jmb

    There is way too much hype on draft picks and homegrown players. Every team would select one of the top 5 players each year in the draft, if they could. That’s impossible, of course, so they make due with what they can get. In the 2020 draft, the Reds had the 12th pick and selected Hendrick. Was this their first choice? Of course not! They were interested in Crochet (taken by the White Sox–one pick before the Reds) and they were interested in Detmers (taken by the Angels–two picks before the Reds), but I’m sure the Reds would even have preferred to take Hassell (#8 pick) or Hancock (#6 pick) or Lacy (#4) or maybe even Torkelson (#1). The fact that Hassell, Hancock, Lacy, and Torkelson are thus far all busts, like Hendrick, is beside the point.

    • Old Big Ed

      I think the 2020 draft was a flawed concept from the start. Very few of the players in that draft got to play much at all that season, and there was no realistic way to scout the players or cross-check them.

      The MLB team either got lucky that year, or it didn’t. The Braves got Spencer Strider at #124 and Eflin in the 5th round. Reid Detmers was a nice pick in the first round, but it was pretty much a bust for position players.

      The flip side of it is that it likely induced a lot of potential HS hitters to go to college, where this year would be their next year to be drafted, and a lot of college guys went back for another year, like Andrew Abbott.

      So, I don’t think it’s too fruitful to lament the 2020 draft. Joe Boyle and Christian Roa from that draft figure at least to be decent bullpen pieces within a year or so.

  16. MBS

    The draft lottery really bit us in the behind. I wanted one of those OF’s in the top 5, specifically Clark.

    Having said that Lowder does address a pressing need, and it might be the best pick for us in the near term. The big 3 haven’t been big in 23, but fingers crossed that they get past their injuries. I was already happy with Petty, Phillips, and Aguiar as possible rotation arms in the near future, but adding Lowder does ease my concerns for a solid 2025 rotation. I still think we need a Ace type to anchor this rotation, via FA in the offseason, but we are getting deeper with mid rotation arms.

  17. CI3J

    I still think we need a Ace type to anchor this rotation, via FA in the offseason

    The problem is, there just aren’t that many “Ace types” available. Ohtani obviously is the crown jewel of the offseason, but he’s going to end up at one of the typical big-money clubs (Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cubs) and has basically zero chance of signing with the Reds.

    After that, who are the “Ace type” arms available? Urias? Flaherty? Severino? Nola? All very good pitchers, but I’m not sure I’d call any of them an “Ace”. Still, I wouldn’t be too opposed to the Reds signing one of them if the price and years were right.

    Kershaw will be available, but he’s also 35 and will be looking for his last big contract. As good as he is, the Reds should not tie up a huge chunk of their money in him.

    It’s fine to talk in hypotheticals and say that the Reds should sign an “Ace type” to anchor the rotation, but the devil is in the details. There just aren’t many realistic options for the Reds on that front.

    • wkuchad

      Sure the devil is in the details, and that’s why we have Krall. One very solid starting pitcher is our biggest offseason need. I don’t think anything else is close. Get one via FA or trade.

      It’s our biggest right now need too, but that’s a different story.

      • CI3J


        But there’s a very big difference between an “Ace type” pitcher and a “very solid starting pitcher”.

        I said in my post above I wouldn’t be opposed to the Reds signing Urias, Flaherty, Nola, or Severino, if the numbers were right. I also wouldn’t be opposed to the Reds making a trade for a pitcher. I’m just not sure they are going to be able to land an “Ace type” pitcher, and certainly not through FA, as MBS suggested.

      • Doc

        How do we know that a frontline pitcher will be our biggest need in the off season until we see what we have in Lodolo and Greene, and how Ashcraft, AA, Williamson, Lively finish up this season?

    • Thomas Atwood

      If “ace” is the standard, imho you are limiting the field to Nola and Urias. Maybe Giolito if you think DJ can work some magic with him. Flaherty and Severino have not been aces in 3+ years.

      I’m not sure I can lift Ohtani above your “very solid” level as a pitcher despite his dynamism as an overall player. Nor any other remaining 2024 FA.

      • CI3J

        I don’t consider Nola or Urias Aces either.

        Very good pitchers, yes. But not “Ace type”.

  18. Indy Red Man

    Idk about Lowder going straight to the Reds? For instance, Fairchild hit .360 with 17 HRs in his senior season at Wake in 2017 and he’s on the fringe. Have to like the kids stuff though. Relying on high velocity only and trying to smoke guys at the big league level doesn’t seem to be working for us.

    • Jim Walker

      But Stuey is one of the lost generation of guys who somewhat fell through the cracks in the development process due to COVID. He was drafted 38th overall (2017). Right on schedule in 2019, he had a strong year at AAA and was sent to the Arizona Fall league where he was one the top hitters (.876OPS). He appeared ready for big things at AAA in 2020 but lost his natural AAA season to COVID, ending up at the tail end of the Reds alternate site roster then traded to Arizona at the late partial season deadline in 2020. He has been chasing ever since just trying to get back to where he was.

      Some guys in his situation may have done better, others not as well but I think it is hard to use their experiences as a bellwether because of the point in their careers when the COVID derailed their progress.

      • Jim Walker

        “…he had a strong year at AA and was sent to the Arizona Fall league…”

  19. Nick in NKY

    Looks like the talent wave that got buried by the COVID limited draft of 2020 is coming back around. I’m optimistic about the Reds’ day-one picks, but some of you are a bit too optimistic for my thinking 🙂

    I do like that teams seem to be more skeptical of high school arms than they used to; IMHO it has always been the smarter move to get college pitchers and high school or prep hitters. So, this works for me from an organizational risk perspective. All told, I’m thinking the Reds get an A on day one. It’s nice to be excited about the future. Cheers.

    • David

      I think that drafting a high school pitcher means (usually) that it is more years (and more risk of injury) until they reach the Majors, unless a truly remarkable young guy (Hunter Greene, for example). Making a high school pitcher a top draft choice is now seen as a “long shot”.