Top Braves prospect to make his 2024 debut

Braves AJ Smith-Shawver

Following last night’s game, Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Justin Toscano reported that Braves top prospect AJ Smith-Shawver will toe the rubber against the Cubs on Thursday.

The Braves need two new starters for today and tomorrow. One to fill Bryce Elder‘s spot, and a sixth one because they had a doubleheader on Monday.

AJ Smith-Shawver caught fire last year as a prospect, beginning the year in High-A Rome and quickly working his way to the majors in just a matter of months. He went on to make six appearances for the Braves, recording a 4.26 ERA over 25.1 innings and even made the NLDS roster.

It was quite the year for Smith-Shawver, who became the Braves top overall prospect and joined almost every top 100 prospect list coming into the season. However, 2024 hasn’t gone quite the way he might have hoped, at least from a statistical perspective.

AJ Smith-Shawver has made eight starts for the Gwinnett Stripers, boasting an unsightly 6.10 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. So, why would the Braves call him up now?

There could be a couple of reasons for that. First and foremost, the Braves desperately needed extra arms to make some spot starts this week, so why not give their most talented pitcher in Gwinnett a chance? Secondly, it’s possible Smith-Shawver has been working on specific things in AAA, and the Braves saw enough improvement in those areas to feel comfortable giving him this opportunity.

Whatever the reason, Smith-Shawver is one of the most talented arms in the entire system. The Braves would love nothing more for him to impress today and never look back, ending this revolving door they’ve had at the back of the rotation for the last several years.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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