4 Atlanta Braves prospects that look to make their MLB debut this season

It takes a lot to be at the start of your career and try to carve out playing time on one of the best teams in baseball but here are four that have a shot this year.

2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship
2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages
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Drue Hackenberg
Virginia Tech v Clemson / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Drue Hackenberg

Another name to keep an eye on is 2023 second round pick Drue Hackenberg out of Virginia Tech. Many in the industry were surprised by his price point (~$2,000,000) but clearly the Braves saw someone they really liked in Drue. He made 3 appearances last season, including a pretty rough four walk performance in his lone Double-A start, but was overpowering in A-ball.

Drue gets it done with a three pitch mix: a sinking fastball sitting 91-93, a good slider, and a rough but developing changeup. You can expect strikes when he's on the mound highlighted by his 2.74 BB/9 in 2023, and 1.85 BB/9 rate his freshman year of college. While Waldrep could force his way into Atlanta this year, Drue could find his way there with a really strong 2024 season and some injuries. There are a few pitchers ahead of him, and there is reliever risk for Drue, but it is clear the Braves like what they see.

Luke Waddell

Take away those 29 games in Triple-A and Luke Waddell, the pride of Georgia Tech, had a very strong 2023 campaign that saw him hit .290/.395/.403. He is primarily a second baseman so his path to the majors has more to do with potential injuries in the infield, and more specifically the second base position as he does not have a ton of versatility.

Luke's calling card is his great hit tool and knowledge of the zone. Luke's walk rate has increased every year with a peak of 15.3% in Triple-A, while his strikeout rate has continued to stay steady around 12%. While he won't hit for much power, his hit tool is his calling card and could help him see Atlanta in 2024.

Cody Milligan

The 2019, 9th round draft pick out of Cowley Community College, Cody Milligan has put together an extremely solid MiLB career. Cody had to deal with an injury in 2023 which saw him play just 69 games, but in those 69 he his .280/.377/.414 (.803 OPS).

While power isn't his thing, much like Waddell, Milligan gets the bat on the ball and lets probability work its thing as he finds gaps and is able to take a second base with some decent speed. Unlike Waddell, and to his favor, Cody can play multiple positions on the field and has an average arm to keep players honest and makes him a utility player to keep an eye on.

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