Baseball America recently updated their top 100 prospects list after the draft, and one Brave is featured, AJ Smith-Shawver. Not only is he featured, but he currently sits inside the top 50, at #46. Here’s what they had to say about the Braves top prospect.
The righthander had a meteoric rise to the major leagues in the first half of the season after starting the season in High-A. Smith-Shawver possesses a nasty one-two punch in his mid-to-high-90s fastball and mid-80s slider.
A lot of folks wanted to add a starting pitcher at the trade deadline. It would have been nice, especially with how the rotation has performed since the All-Star break, but the price tag for starting pitchers — even rentals — was at an all-time high. If the Braves wanted to get someone worth a damn, and there were not many inspiring options available, it likely would have been Smith-Shawver on his way out the door in return.
I get it. I want the Braves to win a World Series as much as anyone and another starting pitcher would have gone a long way in making that happen, but trading away a talent like Smith-Shawver with six years of control for a rental is bad business. It’s how championship windows are shortened, and this team is good enough to win the damn thing as it is.
Alex Anthopoulos has a responsibility as a general manager to look at things from a much wider perspective. He said it on the broadcast a couple of weeks back; the goal is to give the team a chance to win every season. Smith-Shawver is poised to be a staple at the front of Atlanta’s rotation through the remainder of the decade. His rise through the minor league ranks has been nothing short of sensational. In a couple of years, people are going to be singing Alex Anthopoulos’ praises for hanging onto him.
Photo: Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire