The Braves made an exciting move this afternoon, promoting one of their top prospects, AJ Smith-Shawver, to AA Mississippi.
AJ Smith-Shawver has been promoted to AA Mississippi.#RaisedInRome | #ForTheA pic.twitter.com/G1YSjfT5YZ
— Rome Braves (@TheRomeBraves) May 2, 2023
Smith-Shawver is a consensus top-five prospect within the Braves organization. MLB.com currently has him ranked fourth, but I would say that’s much too low. In my opinion, he’s by far the top prospect in the organization and definitely has the highest upside.
Smith-Shawver is a 20-year-old with a blazing fastball to go along with a slider and changeup. Through three starts in Rome this season — his first taste of High-A ball — he did not allow a run and struck out 23 batters over 14 innings.
The only reason he’s not ranked higher by some outlets is because of his control, which led to some shoddy numbers last season. However, he’s been much better at finding the strike zone this year, and if he can do that, there’s not much that can hold him back. His stuff is elite, which is why the Braves have not been hesitant to move him up the pipeline quickly. 20-year-olds don’t normally make it to AA with only 24 professional starts under their belt.
Mississippi will be a big test for Smith-Shawver, and if he can continue to dominate in AA, I’ll be interested in how the Braves handle him moving forward. In recent years, they’ve had no problem calling up their star prospects to the majors, and Smith-Shawver could be next in line.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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