Braves Top 20 Overall Prospects

Below is a composite top 20 of Atlanta Braves prospects entering the 2024 season. Note that, despite playing at the big league level, AJ Smith-Shawver, is still listed as a prospect. 

Rank Name Expected Callup Age H/W
1 AJ Smith-Shawver 2024 21 6' 3" / 205 lbs
2 Hurston Waldrep 2024 22 6' 2" / 210 lbs
3 Spencer Schwellenbach 2025 23 6' 1" / 200 lbs
4 JR Ritchie 2027 20 6' 2" / 185 lbs
5 Owen Murphy 2026 20 6' 1" / 190 lbs
6 Nacho Alvarez Jr 2025 20 5' 11" / 190 lbs
7 Jose Perdomo 2029 17 5' 11" / 180 lbs
8 Cade Kuehler 2026 21 6' 0" / 215 lbs
9 Luis Guanipa 2027 18 5' 11" / 188 lbs
10 Drue Hackenberg 2026 21 6' 2" / 220 lbs
11 Drake Baldwin 2025 22 6' 0" / 210 lbs
12 David McCabe 2025 24 6' 3" / 230 lbs
13 Jhancarlos Lara 2025 21 6' 3" / 190 lbs
14 Darius Vines 2024 25 6' 1" / 190 lbs
15 Dylan Dodd 2024 25 6' 2" / 210 lbs
16 Douglas Glod 2026 19 5' 9" / 185 lbs
17 Adam Maier 2027 22 6' 0" / 203 lbs
18 Sabin Ceballos 2026 21 6' 3" / 225 lbs
19 Diego Benitez 2027 19 6' 0" / 180 lbs
20 Luis De Avila 2024 22 5' 9" / 215 lbs

Braves Top Pitching Prospects 

If there’s one place where the Braves are LOADED it’s in pitching. Let’s walk through some of the Braves top pitching prospects, many of which we expect to see over the course of th next few months. 

AJ Smith-Shawver: Smith Shawver is a right-handed pitcher (RHP) who has made strides in his baseball career with the Atlanta Braves. After being selected in the 2021 Major League Baseball draft, Smith-Shawver, who was initially a two-sport athlete in high school, fully committed to baseball. His transition to pitching was recent, as he only started focusing on it during his senior year of high school. In the 2023 season, he made a significant impact across three minor league levels and even had some exposure in the majors, indicating a bright future ahead.

Smith-Shawver’s arsenal includes a fastball that sits in the upper 90s, a late-breaking slider, and a changeup that has seen considerable improvement. His potential was evident during his time in the minor leagues, where he notched up a 2.76 ERA through 15 starts at Triple-A Gwinnett and struck out 79 batters over 62 innings. His notable performance against the Nationals, where he pitched 5.1 scoreless innings, highlights his capability on the mound.

The Braves have a history of aggressive promotions, and Smith-Shawver’s rise through the ranks is a testament to that. His pitch grades are impressive, especially considering his recent focus on pitching, with his fastball and slider being particularly noteworthy. While he needs to refine his command, the progress he’s made so far is promising. As he continues to develop, Smith-Shawver is expected to be an integral part of the Braves’ pitching future.

Hurston Waldrep, hailing from the University of Florida, has caught attention as a right-handed pitcher with a repertoire that includes a splitter described as one of the best secondary pitches in the draft. With a fastball sitting between 95-99 mph and two plus breaking balls, Waldrep has demonstrated the potential to miss a lot of bats at the big league level. His control is improving, and he is seen as having the capacity to move quickly through the minors due to his power stuff. The Atlanta Braves, known for their aggressive promotions, see him as possibly making his major league debut in 2024. His performance in the College World Series and a strong showing in the 2023 Spring Training, where his splitter especially stood out, reinforces the belief that he could become an integral part of the Braves’ future rotation​​​​​​​​.

Spencer Schwellenbach: another RHP, has a reputation that includes being a two-way player who eventually settled on pitching. His talent was enough to make him a high draft selection, and he is expected to continue to improve as he focuses exclusively on pitching within the Braves system​​.

JR Ritchie: yet another right-hander, was drafted straight from high school and has shown the potential that makes the Braves excited about his future. As he gains experience in the minors, his development will be closely watched as he refines his pitching skills​​.

Owen Murphy: like Ritchie, is also a high school draft pick. As he transitions fully into a pitching role, his progress is being monitored as he adjusts to the higher levels of play in the minor leagues​​.

Cade Kuehler: a right-handed pitcher, impressed enough to be drafted and is seen as someone who could ascend the ranks rapidly. Known for inducing ground balls, his skill set could see him moving through the system at a good pace​​.

Drue Hackenberg: also has a background that suggests he can rise quickly through the minors. His ability to keep the ball on the ground could prove advantageous, and he’s another prospect whose development is eagerly anticipated​​.

Adam Maier: with a solid build for a pitcher, throws from the right side and is part of the Braves’ efforts to bolster their pitching depth. His time in the minors will be an opportunity to hone his craft and demonstrate his ability to compete at higher levels​​.

Garrett Baumann: a towering presence on the mound at 6’8″, is a RHP whose height could give him an advantage in terms of leverage and angle on his pitches. His performance in the minors will determine how quickly he advances within the Braves organization​​.’

Allan Winans: as a right-handed pitcher, brings experience and a certain level of maturity to the Braves’ prospect pool. His age, being slightly higher than typical prospects, suggests he might be a more polished pitcher who could contribute to the Braves’ pitching staff sooner rather than later, given the right development and opportunities.

Blake Burkhalter: another RHP in the Braves’ system. The product out of Auburn baseball, and before that Alabama high school baseball, had been very consistent until a rough 2022.   

Seth Keller: rounding out the group of right-handed pitchers, is part of a broad and promising pitching prospect base for the Braves. His journey through the minor leagues will be crucial for his development and potential future impact on the team’s pitching staff​​.

Hurston Waldrep

Hurston Waldrep

Prospect #3

5/5

An exciting pick who exploded up the farm system towards the end of the year, Waldrep possessed one of the nastiest pitches in his entire draft class. 

AJ Smith Shawver

AJ Smith-Shawver

Prospect #1

4.6/5

He’s been up and down after an explosively fast rise to the majors, he flashed some moments of brilliance before falling off at the end of the year. He moved to the bullpen for the playoffs where he flashed his upsdie. 

4/5

The former Nebraska shortstop has massive stuff with a 99+ mph fastball and sweeping slider that could be a strikeout pitch at the next level.