Another Braves top draft pick is off to an impressive start

MLB: OCT 10 NL Division Series Braves Practice

Yesterday, I talked about how top prospect Hurston Waldrep’s hot start has earned him a promotion to Mississippi. Not to be outdone, second-round pick Drue Hackenberg (brother of Christian), is looking to catch up to Waldrep and rise through this Braves system quickly.

This was Hackenberg’s first start, and he made it count. The 59th overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft is a guy who could rise through the system quickly given his experience at Virginia Tech. Baseball America has high praise for Hackenberg, ranking him 9th in Atlanta’s system:

 Hackenberg has a solid frame and throws from a three-quarter slot, while primarily pitching off a sinking, 93-94 mph fastball that touches 96 and a low-80s slider that took a step forward this spring and generated a 47% whiff rate. He also throws a firm, upper-80s changeup. Hackenburg drives a high groundball rate and induced ground balls at a 55% rate for his career. He does a nice job filling up the zone with his fastball/slider combination and has been an above-average strike-thrower. He has a back-end starter profile and could get picked among the top five rounds.

That profile sounds a lot like Bryce Elder, and similarly to Elder, Hackenberg could be on the fast track to the majors if he continues to pitch like this.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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