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.
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).