The good folks over at MLB Pipeline dropped their yearly preseason Top 100 prospects on Friday evening, and as always the much-anticipated list provided baseball fans everywhere with valuable information. While Atlanta Braves fans were shut out to start at the 2023 season, this year the fortunes have flipped and their two top prospects both landed in the top 100.
AJ Smith-Shawver comes in as the Braves highest-rated prospect, slotting in at the 69th spot for Pipeline. By now you know Smith-Shawver’s story. Coming into 2023 he was unranked by any publication nationally, but after dominating his way through the minor leagues and into a debut in Atlanta he quickly rocketed up lists. This does, however, represent a drop in the rankings for Smith-Shawver who was rated as the 53rd best prospect in baseball on Pipeline’s midseason list.
Hurston Waldrep barely squeaked into the top 100, landing as the number 90 prospect. Waldrep quickly made his way to Triple-A last season after being drafted in the first round by the Braves, and this ascent along with his performance garnered him more recognition and a rankings bump. Waldrep was 100th on the pipeline top 100 at midseason. Both players will head into major league camp this spring presumably with an opportunity to win a starting job if they perform well enough.