Relief Pitcher - Jaden Woods
For our third 2023 draftee of the day, we have left-handed pitcher Jaden Woods. Baseball America really liked Jaden Woods, even saying he had day one draft upside. However, he wasn't able to impress enough during the 2023 college season and fell to the 7th round, where the Pirates snagged him.
Woods' final season at the University of Georgia saw him pitch to a 5.77 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, and 2.48 WHIP. While Woods struck out nearly 30% of the batters who faced him (29.5%), he also had an unimpressive 11.9% walk rate and 1.86 HR/9 rate. While Woods struggled in college, he looked great for the Bradenton Marauders after the Pirates drafted him.
The lefty pitched 14.1 innings at Low-A and only allowed five earned runs. He struck out 21 opponents and walked three. Impressively, Woods did not allow a single home run. It was a high note for Woods to end on after his mediocre season for Georgia.
Woods was only sitting 90-92 MPH and topping out around 93-94 with Bradenton but has previously been able to crank it up to 93-95 on average. While the pitch lacks elite velocity, especially for a reliever, he was able to get a decent amount of swings and misses with the pitch. He also throws a slider in the upper-70s/low-80s, but he can really sell his changeup well because of his arm action.
Woods is athletic and has a lot more promise than you'd typically see from a 7th-round draft pick. If Woods can get his velocity back up to the 93-94 MPH range, he could make some significant strides in 2024.