The transfer portal was Florida Baseball’s best friend this past off-season. Back in July, Florida landed one of the top MLB draft prospects for the ’23 season.
From Southern Miss to playing on the USA national collegiate team this past summer, Hurston Waldrep has now found a new home at the University of Florida.
Before Becoming a Gator
Waldrep is a 6’2 right-handed pitcher from Thomasville, Georgia. He played his first two years of college baseball at Southern Miss on its pitching staff. In his freshman season, he was used primarily in relief but got the nod as a sophomore to transition into a starting role.
That year, he posted a 6-2 record with a 3.20 ERA and had 140 strikeouts. Those numbers earned him an invite to play in the Netherlands with the USA national collegiate baseball team during the summer.
While he was busy pitching with the stars and stripes across his chest, talks of Waldrep becoming a Gator rose. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan flew to the Netherlands to see what could be in store for his team, and it paid off.
Waldrep is now settled at the University of Florida but the one thing in his life that hasn’t changed — his Omaha mindset.
First Fall Dominance
Wasting no time to introduce himself, Waldrep quickly made his name known in Gainesville.
He started the Gators’ first fall exhibition game against Georgia pitching two scoreless innings. If anyone was ever in doubt of how good he is, his dominance prevailed in his second start against Stetson.
In his two-inning outing, he went six up, six straight strikeouts — pitching an immaculate inning in the second.
Waldrep left a competitive mark in fall ball and looks to be a standout SEC pitcher in the spring.
Here's a look at Waldrep's immaculate inning from tonight. 6 K's on 6 batters faced- 2 on FB, 1 on SL, 1 on CB, 2 on SPL. Just utter domination & execution of full repertoire. #PGDraft @GatorsBB https://t.co/zoC9n6C6gK pic.twitter.com/HO1RYo09FF
— Kyler Peterson (@KPetersonPG) November 7, 2022
Behind His Pitch Mix
Waldrep is an over-the-top slot four-pitch guy who uses his curveball, slider and splitter to add to his high 90s fastball.
However, his pitch mix didn’t find certainty until he transitioned his change-up into a splitter.
As good as Waldrep is, he still finds ways to improve his approach.
This year, he states he wants to rely more on his curveball and splitter as his secondary pitch, rather than his slider.
Looking Ahead to Spring
A true competitor is how Waldrep describes himself.
Every at-bat, every pitch, he wants to be the best version of Hurston Waldrep.
Gator fans have a lot to look forward to in the spring with his arsenal, as with the rest of the team.
The Florida Gator baseball team will open the ’23 season home against Charleston Southern on Feb 17.