Kiley McDaniel posted his top 100 prospects on ESPN on Wednesday morning, and the Atlanta Braves were represented by Hurston Waldrep. Notably missing was AJ Smith-Shawver from the list, who was not ranked as a top 50 prospect midseason last year but was one of McDaniel’s “30 prospects to note”. For Waldrep, he debuts at 77th on the list, and received a glowing review of his arsenal.
Waldrep’s primary pitch is his split-finger fastball, and that was pointed out immediately in McDaniels’s report and rated as a double plus pitch by him. He also called Waldrep’s slider plus and noted his command of the pitch, while rating his fastball at above average. The biggest knock noted was Waldrep’s command especially on his changeup, but McDaniels believes that Waldrep will stick as a starter and only needs better pitch usage and a small bump in fastball command in order to handle a major league starting role in 2024.
Battery Power ranked Waldrep as the second-best prospect in the system, and feel the same way about his potential. Waldrep already has shown an ability to succeed against high-talent hitters both in the SEC and the upper levels of the minor leagues. While his command profile currently causes concern there is a level of talent and drive to Waldrep that give many evaluators faith in his long-term projectiosn.