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MLB Draft 2023: Cleveland selects RHP Andrew Walters with No. 62 pick

A potential fast-moving reliever is on his way to Cleveland.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: APR 23 Georgia Tech at Miami Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cleveland Guardians have selected right-handed pitcher Andrew Walters out of the University of Miami (Florida). A college senior, Walters is a reliever-only prospect, but has the ability to move quickly through the Guardians system.

Here’s what MLB Pipeline had to say about him:

Walters began his college career at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school in Brevard County. He moved to Miami after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and pitched well out of the bullpen right away in 2021. A year ago, he was among the Division I leaders with saves and was taken in Round 18 by the Orioles. He opted to return to the Hurricanes, and after some talk about moving him into the rotation last fall, he’s been his usual reliable self as a reliever.

Walters still leans very heavily on his one plus pitch, his fastball. The right-hander’s heater touches 99 mph, sits over 95 and misses bats because of plus life up in the zone and deception in his delivery. He’s not throwing it quite as frequently as he did in 2022 (more than 90 percent), but it’s still very much his go-to pitch. He has mixed in his mid-80s slider more frequently, and while it’s missed a ton of bats this spring, it’s a slurvy below-average offering.

The reliever’s effectiveness is aided by the fact that he’s around the zone, walking fewer than two per nine in 2022 and 2023. It’s been encouraging that he’s committed to throwing his secondary pitch more with Miami, but he’ll have to find a way to sharpen it at the next level. Three years of success in the ACC won’t hurt his Draft stock, though.

Here’s another evaluation I found on Twitter that comes with some video: