Braves 2023 first-round pick Hurston Waldrep earns promotion

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAY 24 SEC Baseball Tournament Florida vs Alabama

Well, that didn’t take long. After just one professional start with the August GreenJackets, Braves 2023 first-round pick Hurston Waldrep has been promoted to High-A Rome.

Waldrep completed three innings and gave up two runs (one earned), but it was his eight strikeouts that made his debut so impressive.

An organization can never have enough starting pitching, and the Braves are no different. Max Fried could be on his way out the door at the end of the 2024 campaign, and Charlie Morton is probably currently mulling retirement at the time of this article. The expectation is AJ Smith-Shawver will eventually establish himself as a permanent member of the rotation, but the Braves desperately need more arms, and Waldrep is the guy I’ll be watching in the coming years.

The former Florida Gator has nasty stuff, and I didn’t think he was going to be available when the Braves were on the clock at pick 24. Waldrep features a fastball that can reach the high-90s and a devastating splitter that forced whiffs over two-thirds of the time he threw it this season. His slider is a plus-pitch as well, giving him a legitimate three-pitch mix at such a young age.

Every Braves fan should be keeping a close eye on Waldrep moving forward. He’ll have to learn how to harness his control, but he has some of the best pure stuff of anyone in the entire 2023 draft class. If he limits his walks and continues to develop his offerings, Waldrep could be another prospect that rockets through the Braves farm system at an alarming rate.

Photographer: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire

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