3 college pitchers the Blue Jays should target in Round 1 of the MLB Draft

Following on from considering potential college position players the Blue Jays could select in the first round of the 2023 MLB draft, we now look at three pitchers they might aim for with the 20th pick.
Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays
Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays / Tom Szczerbowski/GettyImages
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Hurston Waldrep







6 ft 2 in

210 lbs



After Dollander there's a bit of a gap before you reach the next pitcher in the prospect rankings according to MLB.com, i.e. Hurston Waldrep at 19. He makes for an intriguing option, with both plenty of potential and questions.

Waldrep only moved into the Southern Mississippi rotation for the 2022 season due to a lack of options for the team. And yet, he went on to excel for the Golden Eagles.

The Cairo, Georgia native went 6-2 in 17 starts, recording a 3.20 ERA and 14 strikeouts per nine innings. He also showed an ability to power through outings, highlighted by throwing two complete games.

Waldrep made the decision to transfer to Florida for the 2023 season but the results weren't quite as impressive, notably with a 1.397 WHIP which was his worst in three years at college. However, he did go 10-3 in 19 starts and average 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings, recording a serviceable 4.16 ERA in the process.

To highlight the mercurial talent, consider that the righty is just one of 10 SEC pitchers to average at least 13 strikeouts per nine innings in a season since 2011. (Minimum 75.0 innings pitched.) However, he is also just one of two pitchers to record a walk-rate worse than 4.0 per nine innings (5.0) during the same time frame.

Despite the inconsistency, the raw talent at Waldrep's disposal is clear. He has three quality pitches, including a fastball which almost touches 100 on the radar gun, to go along with a high-80s slider and low-80s curveball.

From a scouting perspective, the main question is whether the 21-year-old projects as a long-term starter? Even if he doesn't though, he would offer a valuable addition to a bullpen, capable of throwing multiple innings.

Overall, Waldrep is a top athlete who previously played football as a kicker and punter. He will be drafted in the first round -- whether the team drafting him is Toronto, remains to be seen.