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Braves promote top pick Hurston Waldrep to Rome

The Braves sent their top pick in the draft to High-A after just one start with Augusta.

2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Photo by Tyler Schank/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

After just one start in Augusta the Atlanta Braves have promoted their top pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, Hurston Waldrep, to High-A Rome. Waldrep was the headliner to this news, but he is being joined by Jared Johnson and Cory Acton in Rome.

It’s not a surprise that Waldrep was promoted after a strong start when you consider the Low-A level wasn’t exactly a challenge for a guy who faced tough SEC competition all season. That start in Augusta saw Waldrep go three innings with eight strikeouts, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with a walk.

Johnson was an overslot 14th rounder back in 2019 and after dealing with injuries is finally healthy this year. He came in a little raw as a high school arm that blew up in the spring before the draft, and it had been up and down for him at times prior to this year. This year however he has posted a 4.24 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 51 innings. He’s still got some command questions as he has also walked 40, but he has real potential with swing and miss stuff.

Acton was a senior sign 9th round pick by the Braves last year. The former top recruit who started at Florida transferred to Georgia to finish his college career. He has hit .252/.356/.325 in 45 games with Augusta and had already played 20 games with Rome earlier this year.

To fill in the roster spots created by these moves the Augusta team got Will Verdung, Riley Frey, Pier-Olivier Boucher, Zack Austin, and Shay Schanaman from the FCL team. Verdung, Frey, and Boucher were members of the 2023 draft class.

Verdung is the headliner of these additions. The 13th round pick has started 7-28 with a homer and three doubles in nine games with the FCL team after a very strong season in JUCO. Boucher, the 10th rounder, just recently started in the FCL and has some additional upside after originally being a hockey player in Canada.

Among the pitchers Frey was the 19th round pick, and the lefty had pitched three innings with just one walk allowed in the FCL. Schanaman and Austin were undrafted free agents this year who just recently made their debuts in the FCL.

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