Braves top prospect hits the IL

MLB: JUN 04 Braves at Diamondbacks

The Braves are gearing up for the postseason, even though it’s over a month away. That’s what happens when you have the kind of division lead Atlanta has; they’ll waltz to the club’s sixth straight NL East title en route to a first-round bye as either the first or second seed.

The only task at hand is to be playing their best ball when October rolls around and being as healthy as possible. The Braves should welcome back a slew of critical arms. None more important than Kyle Wright, who made his first rehab appearance on Thursday for the High-A Rome Braves.

Wright needed just 26 pitches, 23 of which were strikes, to get through three innings. He punched out four and only gave up one hit, which was a comebacker that bounced off his glove.

Jesse Chavez and Dylan Lee are also expected to return in the near future, giving the Braves a couple more options out of the bullpen. It’s a good problem to have all of these arms available, but I do not envy Alex Anthopoulos and the difficult decisions that await him when constructing the playoff roster.

However, it’s not all roses. On Wednesday, AJ Smith-Shawver, who many consider to be the top prospect on the farm, was placed on the seven-day minor league injured list, according to Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The hard-throwing righty is reportedly dealing with shoulder inflammation, which is never a good sign. For the Braves, he’s made five appearances and four starts, owing a 4.57 ERA to go along with 18 punchouts across 21.2 innings.

He’s got loads of upside and could eventually be a frontline starter in Atlanta. However, he still needs some seasoning. Smith-Shawver hasn’t been better in Triple-A Gwinnett, posting a 4.58 in seven starters with 39 strikeouts in 35.1 innings.

Hopefully, this is only precautionary.

Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire
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