Atlanta Braves 2023 MLB Draft Target: RHP Tanner Witt

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Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

As we begin to lead up to the 2023 MLB Draft, we will be previewing a few potential first and second round targets for the Atlanta Braves this upcoming July going forward. As you can likely tell by the title as well, we begin here today with a college arm in Texas right-handed pitcher Tanner Witt, a name that could very easily be in the mix for the Braves at pick No. 24 overall.

Atlanta Braves 2023 MLB Draft Target: RHP Tanner Witt

Beginning with a look at Witt's collegiate career at Texas, the right-hander does not necessarily have as large a sample size to go off compared to some of the other top college arms in this draft. As to why, that is because Witt has made only 32 combined appearances for the Longhorns since 2021, which is primarily due to a prior injury.

A former highly-touted prospect out of Episcopal High School in Texas, one who originally ranked as MLB Pipeline's No. 53 overall prospect back in the 2020 MLB Draft, Witt began his time in Austin as a reliever for a Longhorns team that reached the College World Series in 2021. One of the Big 12's top relievers as a freshman, Witt would post a combined 3.16 ERA with five saves and a 73:25 K:BB ratio across 57 IP (28 relief appearances), while also holding opponents to a .194 AVG against, receiving honors that included Freshman All-American and Honorable Mention All-Big 12.

After transitioning to the Longhorns rotation as a sophomore, Witt's 2022 season would however be cut short, as the right-hander would undergo Tommy John surgery after only two starts. Across the two starts however, which would come early in the season against Rice and Alabama, Witt certainly impressed, owning a 1.64 ERA and 14:3 K:BB ratio across 11 IP.

Now in his redshirt sophomore season at Texas, Witt has recently made his return to the mound as well, but has only pitched 1.2 innings across two starts so far this May since returning from injury.

Currently ranked as MLB Pipeline's No. 25 overall prospect in the 2023 MLB Draft, the 6-foot-5, 215 pound right-hander has a four-pitch mix, which is headlined by a plus fastball and curveball, both of which rank as a 60 on MLB's 80/20 scale. The 20-year-old also has a solid changeup and slider, and shows strong control with each.

A player who could've been a first round pick out of high school before attending Texas, Witt is now likely to be a first round pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, likely coming in the back-half of the round, which, as mentioned previously, could put the right-hander into the Braves range at pick No. 24. The Braves are obviously no stranger to selecting college prospects as well, as four of Atlanta's last five first rounders dating back to 2019 have come from the collegiate ranks, two of which were pitchers.

Atlanta has also seen success from their most recent pick from Texas in Bryce Elder, whom the club selected in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft. Could the Braves take yet another Texas pitcher in Witt this summer?