Braves: Hurston Waldrep beginning to catch fire in Mississippi

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAY 24 SEC Baseball Tournament Florida vs Alabama

Hurston Waldrep was one of the headlines of Braves Spring Training. After being drafted in the first round of the 2023 MLB Draft, he quickly rocketed through the system, finishing the year in AAA after just eight professional starts. The performance was good enough to earn him an invite to major-league camp, where the hype train only continued to grow.

Some even believed there was an outside shot that Hurston Waldrep could make the Opening Day roster. The Braves have been known to surprise when it comes to their young arms; however, this wasn’t one of those times. Because of the Braves surplus of pitchers, not only did Waldrep not begin the year in the majors, he actually was forced to start in AA, where he experienced some early season struggles.

Waldrep’s first couple of starts were a stark reminder that this is still a player who was pitching collegiately less than 12 months ago. The talent is immense, but expectations should be tempered. He was crushed around the yard in his first outing, giving up 11 hits and seven runs over 2.2 innings. Waldrep’s second start was significantly better, but he still gave up three runs on four hits and four walks over 4.1 innings.

However, things have taken a significant turn for the better since then. In his third outing, Hurston Waldrep did give up eight hits but limited the damage to just one run over six innings. He would go on to make it through six innings again in his fourth start, surrendering just one run on four walks and three hits. But yesterday was Waldrep’s best performance of the young season, tossing 5.2 innings of scoreless ball, allowing just four hits and a walk with five punchouts.


This is more like what the Braves expected after the way Hurston Waldrep pitched last season. He’s still got plenty of work left to do before he’s deemed major-league ready, but the Braves shouldn’t be too concerned about that right now. Even with Spencer Strider lost for the season, their rotation has been magnificent, and there are plenty of other arms in Gwinnett waiting for their opportunity, like AJ Smith-Shawver, Darius Vines, and eventually Ian Anderson once he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Photographer: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire

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