Atlanta Braves: 2021 First Rounder Ryan Cusick Impressive in Pro Debut

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 04: The Atlanta Braves take the field prior to game two of an MLB doubleheader against the Washington Nationals at Truist Park on September 4, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 04: The Atlanta Braves take the field prior to game two of an MLB doubleheader against the Washington Nationals at Truist Park on September 4, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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While the Atlanta Braves are making news in taking first place in the NL East at the big league level, noise in the Braves system is also coming from a different area – 2021 MLB Draft pick debuts. 

The Atlanta Braves’ selections in the 2021 MLB Draft are beginning to make their professional debuts in the lower levels of Atlanta’s system.

Out of all of these pro debuts, there was arguably none more highly anticipated than that of the Braves first-round pick, right-handed pitcher Ryan Cusick.

Atlanta Braves 2021 first-round pick Ryan Cusick impressive in pro debut.

Selected a few weeks ago by the Braves with the No. 24 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft, Cusick made his highly-anticipated professional debut on Thursday night.

Making the start for the Low-A Augusta GreenJackets, Cusick threw three extremely impressive scoreless innings allowing only one hit while striking out out seven.

The 6’6 right-hander’s best pitch is his electric fastball which was on full display Thursday night, using it to record six of his seven strikeouts.

Locating it throughout the zone, Cusick’s fastball reached 98 mph on one strikeout, while he recorded three K’s with a 97 mph fastball and two at 95 mph. Cusick’s other strikeout (his first) came via an 89 mph slider down-and-in to a left-handed hitter.

Selected No. 24 overall in this year’s draft, Cusick is coming off three seasons at Wake Forest in which he combined to post a 10-10 record with a 5.01 ERA across 158 innings pitched.

The right-hander also racked up a 206:79 combined K:BB ratio during those three seasons, and pitched in 35 games with the Demon Deacons — 28 of which he started.

While it is unknown what role Cusick will eventually settle in with the Braves long-term (starter or reliever), the 21-year-old has the tools to do both well.

Next. Tyler Matzek key for Braves going forward. dark

Cusick will be a player to watch going forward, not only because of his status as a first-rounder or his impressive professional debut, but what role we may see the hard-throwing right-hander in from here on.