Braves top draft selection sidelined with Tommy John surgery

Vaughn Grissom call up

Yesterday, the Braves reassigned three pitchers to minor-league camp. One of those arms was 2022 second-round pick Blake Burkhalter out of Auburn, who tossed a scoreless inning already in Spring Training with a couple of strikeouts. The decision was far from surprising, given Burkhalter was never in consideration for the major-league roster so soon, but it turns out there was a much more grim reason for the reassignment.

Burkhalter suffered a torn UCL, which will require Tommy John surgery and cost him the 2023 season.

Burkhalter is an impressive power arm that posted a 3.01 ERA and 13.1 K/9 over his collegiate career. Given his experience at the top level of college baseball, he had the potential to be a fast riser through the Braves farm system. This is an untimely setback, but it’s better for it to happen now than later in his career. Hopefully, we can see him back healthy at some point late in the 2024 season.

Photo: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

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