Prospect list season continues Wednesday with the release of Baseball America’s preseason Top 100 prospect list. The Atlanta Braves had two players make the cut in pitching prospects AJ Smith-Shawver and Hurston Waldrep.
Both pitchers crack the Top 50 with Smith-Shawver coming in at No. 42 and Waldrep at No. 49. Smith-Shawver rocketed through four minor league levels to make his major league debut as a 20-year old in 2023. His overall numbers at the big league level weren’t that impressive, but he flashed some of the promise that make him a top prospect. Baseball America says that his fastball and feel for multiple breaking balls give him mid-rotation upside. He just needs to improve his command. Smith-Shawver will be in spring camp with the Braves, but is likely ticketed to start the season at Triple A.
Waldrep was the Braves’ first round pick in 2023 out of Florida and impressed, moving quickly across four levels to finish the season at Triple A. Combined, he posted a 1.53 ERA and had 41 strikeouts in 29 1⁄3 innings between Low A and Triple A. He will be in spring camp with the Braves and could potentially make his major league debut at some point during the 2024 season.
The Braves didn’t have any players listed in Baseball America’s list of 15 prospects who just missed the top 100, but right-handers J.R. Ritchie and Owen Murphy both received votes.