The Braves drafted one of the most high profile collegiate pitchers in the draft with their first round selection in Hurston Waldrep, and the Florida product did not disappoint in his first taste of professional ball.
Waldrep’s minor-league career began in Low-A August, where he needed just one start before promotion to Rome after striking out eight batters in three innings. In High-A, Waldrep made three starts, allowing just one run over 12 innings with a ridiculous 17 strikeouts. His success continued in Mississippi where he made three more starts, posting a 2.70 ERA and 9.9 K/9 and earning one more final promotion over the weekend to Gwinnett.
In Waldrep’s first AAA start, he looked as impressive as ever, tossing 4.1 scoreless innings with five strikeouts.
4 1/3 IP
5 K pic.twitter.com/1wYflp5HBX
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) September 23, 2023
Following the outing, there were some murmurs about Waldrep potentially making his MLB debut, especially with Charlie Morton going down with an injury, but Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that will not be happening. His offseason has begun as he aims to make an impact in 2024.
Hurston Waldrep, the Braves' first-round pick, will not be on the postseason roster. He'll head into the offseason and focus on preparing for next season after a job well done. https://t.co/AUNwCZWiSt
— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) September 24, 2023
The fact that Waldrep making his MLB debut in his first half season of professional ball was even a discussion tells you all you need to know about his talent. He has front-line starter potential, featuring a fastball in the high-90s, a devastating splitter, and a plus-slider. Control was a problem for him in his final season at Florida, and those issues flashed at times in the minors, but the stuff is otherworldly.
The Braves have had a ton of success developing pitchers in recent seasons, and Waldrep looks to be up next. At some point in 2024, he should get his chance to make his MLB debut.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire