A Braves top prospect makes his return from Tommy John surgery

Hurston Waldrep Braves hat AJ Smith-Shawver

This season has been one full of injuries for the Atlanta Braves, and nobody in the entire organization seems safe. However, there are a couple of really intriguing names on the cusp of returning from Tommy John surgery.

Most notably, Ian Anderson is scheduled to start in a Florida Complex League game today. The 2021 postseason hero has been out since August of 2022 after going under the knife, and there is some optimism that the lengthy time off could end up being a positive for him in the grand scheme of things.

But Anderson is not alone, JR Ritchie is also coming off Tommy John surgery and started for the Braves in the Florida Complex League yesterday. The 2022 35th overall pick is ranked the fourth best prospect in Atlanta’s system by MLB Pipeline, behind only AJ Smith-Shawver, Hurston Waldrep, and Spencer Schwellenbach. I would probably have him sixth, behind Owen Murphy and Nacho Alvarez as well. But JR Ritchie is undoubtedly a prospect worth monitoring moving forward, and he looked good yesterday, tossing a couple scoreless innings with one strikeout and allowing just one hit.

Ritchie boasts an impressive four-pitch mix, which includes a mid-90s fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. Tommy John surgery is never easy to recover him, but at 20-years-old, it’s certainly not a career-ender either. Hopefully, he can build off where he was at pre-injury and start to show why the Braves valued him so highly coming out of high school a couple of years ago in the draft.

Photo: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire


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