June 18, 2024

According to David O’Brien of The Athletic, as the Atlanta Braves wind up their weekend road series against the Washington Nationals, they will make a significant roster move for Sunday’s conclusion.

“The Braves have called up top prospect Hurston Waldrep to start Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals in Washington.” Waldrep, 22, was a first-round draft pick out of the University of Florida less than a year ago and has made 18 minor level starts, including two in Triple A.

Waldrep, the Braves’ top prospect, posted a 2.92 ERA in 9 Double-A starts this season, with 48 strikeouts and 17 walks in 49 1/3 innings, before getting promoted to Triple A and striking out a career-high 11 with one walk in 6 innings in his Triple-A debut Sunday.

After laboring in his first two minor league starts, the Braves prospect has stepped up, according to O’Brien:

“After surrendering 15 hits, 10 runs, and 5 walks in 7 innings over his first two starts of the season, Waldrep has a 1.68 ERA and.584 opponent OPS in his last eight outings, with 52 strikeouts and 13 walks in 48 1/3 innings. His single homer allowed in that stretch came from the second batter in his Triple-A season debut.”

The former Florida Gators starter is a power pitcher with an upper-90s fastball and a vicious changeup, which helped Florida go to the College World Series final. The 21-year-old also throws a slider and curveball and is thought to have one of the best splitters in the Braves organization right now.

The rationale for the relocation should not cause concern among Braves fans. Atlanta is simply moving Max Fried back for an additional day of relaxation. Because they’re off Monday, he’ll have two more days before Tuesday’s game in Baltimore, and the rest of the starters will get extra rest as well.

 

Hurston Waldrep - Baseball - Florida Gators

 

Brian Snitker, the Braves’ manager, has made it a point to acquire extra rest for starters whenever possible, particularly following Spencer Strider’s injury.

Fellow Braves rookie pitcher trying to find his way

Hurston Waldrep isn’t the only Braves rookie getting a start this season. Rookie Spencer Schwellenbach was roughed up in his second career start, and Atlanta was shut out for the first time in more than a year, losing 9-0 to the Boston Red Sox last Wednesday.

“Lot of strikes, the kid is learning,” Braves manager Brian Snitker told ESPN. “He doesn’t have much to fall back on yet. But the food was good. He threw many strikes. I was wounded by a two-strike that arguably took up too much of the plate. But he competes very well. Everything is wonderful, and there is a lot of potential there.”

Schwellenbach (0-2) allowed six runs on seven hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. In his first career start the previous week, he performed well enough against the Washington Nationals in five innings, but he lost due to one faulty pitch, allowing a three-run home run to Lane Thomas.

The Braves’ 2021 second-round pick was promoted to the major leagues last week as the team searches for a starting pitcher to replace Spencer Strider in the rotation after Atlanta’s ace was sidelined for the season due to elbow surgery. Max Fried, Chris Sale, Reynaldo Lopez, and Charlie Morton have mostly performed well in the 1-4 places, while 2023 All-Star Bryce Elder, A.J. Smith-Shawver, and now Schwellenbach have all struggled in the No. 5 spot.

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