MLB teams expect college pitchers to find success in the minors and find a quicker path to helping the major league team out in the near future. While it’s early, that journey so far so good for Jason Hursh, the 31st overall selection and first-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in the 2013 MLB Draft.
The 21-year-old right-hander out of Oklahoma State has made three starts for single-A Rome, maintaining a pristine 0.00 ERA. He’s allowed three hits and five walks while striking out seven batters, and has held opponents to a .136 average over 6.2 innings of work.
A year removed from Tommy John surgery, the Braves will bring Hursh along with a strict pitch count to prevent any chance of overworking him.
However, the Braves are not afraid to move their top prospects through the system briskly. If successful, Hursh could follow a similar path as top prospect Alex Wood. After being selected in the second round of the 2012 MLB Draft, Wood started 13 games (52.2 innings) for single-A Rome. He began this season at Double-A Mississippi and made it to Atlanta in just his second season as a professional.
That may be a little much to ask of Hursh, but there’s a reason the Braves took him with their first selection. The right-hander features a devastating fastball that hits the upper 90s with downward movement. He needs some fine tooling of his slider and changeup to fully develop as a starter, but it will be his plus-fastball that gets him to the big leagues.
We will continue to monitor the progress of Hursh in his first season as a professional.