Jared Shuster put together a masterful performance in his second start of the year for the Mississippi Braves.
It has not been the smoothest transition to the professional ranks for Jared Shuster. The first-round draft pick out of Wake Forest in 2020 has struggled to get his footing since joining the Atlanta Braves organization.
The 2020 year was a weird year for everyone, with no minor league baseball, there was nowhere for Shuster to go except for the alternate site. In 2021, he was limited to only 73 total innings due to a few injuries.
The innings thrown in 2021 led to mixed results at both levels:
- High-A Rome: 15 games, 14 starts, 58.1 innings, 3.70 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 4.09 xFIP, 1.06 WHIP, 31.1% strikeout rate, 6.4% walk rate
- AA Mississippi: 3 games, 3 starts, 14.2 innings, 7.36 ERA, 6.54 FIP, 4.53 xFIP, 1.64 WHIP, 25.0% strikeout rate, 7.4% walk rate
In total, Shuster appeared in 18 games, with 17 starts, a 4.44 ERA, 1.178 WHIP, 29.7% strikeout rate, and 6.6% walk rate.
This led to a few fading Shuster during the offseason. He currently sits as the 10th ranked prospect according to MLB and is ranked 7th on the Tomahawk Take prospect rankings.
Some were worried about Shuster coming into the 2022 season and hoped to see a turnaround.
Off to a Hot Start
Shuster has gotten off to a great start in Mississippi. This includes a phenomenal performance on Easter weekend against the Biloxi Shuckers.
He struck out 12 batters and tied a Southern League record with eight-straight strikeouts to end his outing.
It is unfortunate that Shuster’s appearance was shortened due to weather but still an encouraging outing from the young lefty.
In just two appearances, he has a 0.90 ERA, 2.04 FIP, 1.38 xFIP, 0.80 WHIP, 44.7% strikeout rate, and 5.3% walk rate.
It is still early (only 10 innings pitched), but the strong start is encouraging for Shuster. Hopefully, he can capitalize on this strong start and put together an impressive 2022.
A Breakout 2022?
Shuster arguably has one of the best changeups in the entire organization and pairs it with a plus fastball. The slider is a work in progress but could become a solid third offering.
The biggest concern was always going to be the control. Early in 2022, he has only allowed 2 walks and has appeared much more in control of the strike zone.
Maybe going under the radar for the 2022 season will benefit Shuster. Being a first-round draft pick will draw plenty of attention, but with the ascent of other pitching prospects, maybe this will take some pressure off of Shuster.
Putting together a strong season in Mississippi would push Shuster up prospect rankings. As a college arm, the Braves could fast track him to Gwinnett as well.
The Braves saw something in him by taking him with their first pick when they only had four draft picks in 2020. Could this be the year where he rewards the organization for their belief in him?
It is only two starts, but the strong start is encouraging to see for the Braves pitching prospect.