The Braves reverted to their traditional route of going with pitching in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft, selecting Wake Forest pitcher Jared Shuster 25th overall.
Shuster, a left-handed pitcher, has been regarded as a high riser in the draft process. However, he posted an abysmal 6.79 ERA during his college career, splitting time between the bullpen and the rotation. While he was ranked as the #77 prospect at MLB.com, their evaluators admit that if the list was compiled today he would have been ranked higher. He has harnessed his control and his fastball is now touching around 97 MPH. His changeup is considered to be his best pitch, and he has a strong curveball as well.
Obviously, we have a relatively small sample size of Shuster’s improved stuff. Flamethrowing southpaws tend to find their control later and this could be the case with Shuster, who walked four batters in just 26.1 innings of work this season before play was suspended. There is certainly more than meet’s the eye as far as the stat sheet is concerned, but this pick seems like a big leap of confidence for a newly revamped Braves scouting department. It will be interesting to see how he performs on the farm.
According to David O’Brien of The Athletic, it seems the Braves will look to sign Shuster under slot:
#Braves think they can save $ on Shuster below slot, use that to pay more for potential good HS talent that slips past 2nd round tomorrow, make up gap for no 2nd-round pick. Shuster made an adjustment with hip-turn that improved velo & command. 92-95 FB, good feel for change-up
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) June 11, 2020