The Atlanta Braves made an unexpected move on Tuesday by selecting the contract of top pitching prospect AJ Smith-Shawver. In a corresponding move, the club designated lefty Lucas Luetge for assignment.
Twenty-year-old Smith-Shawver has had a quick trip to the major leagues. He was initially assigned to the Rome Braves on April 6 of this year. He made three starts in Rome, logging 14 scoreless innings and holding opponents to a .125 batting average.
Then, on May 2, he was promoted to Double-A Mississippi, where he made two appearances, tossing seven frames.
On May 16, he was promoted yet again and assigned to the Gwinnett Stripers. Smith-Shawver made two starts, logged twelve innings, and allowed four runs.
Now, he joins the Braves’ 40-man roster and is expected to initially work out of the bullpen.
“We’re going to pitch him out of there for a while, kind of like we did with Spencer Strider last year,” Brian Snitker said following the move. “Try and get him multiple innings when we can. I think his future’s going to be starting, but this is a way to kind of break him in.”
“He’s gotten results,” Snitker added. “His stuff’s been really good, reports have been really good and all that. As we’ve seen, skills and stuff play up here.”
Smith-Shawver is set to be the youngest Brave to pitch in a big league game since Julio Teheran in 2011.
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