5 Braves prospects who moved quickly through the minors and made Atlanta look smart

Atlanta is no stranger to fast-tracking top prospects to the MLB level.
Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves
Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves surprised everyone on Tuesday afternoon when they announced the promotion of one of their top pitching prospects. Spencer Schwellenbach was called up by the Braves and makes his MLB debut against the Nationals on Wednesday night.

The young pitcher was drafted by the Braves in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft. Schwellenbach was a two-way player in college but the Braves decided to keep him strictly as a pitcher. However, he ended up needing Tommy John surgery shortly after the draft concluded.

Spencer is having a breakout season and impressed the Braves enough to earn a fast-track promotion. He has a 1.80 ERA through 45 innings with 10 walks and 51 strikeouts. Schwellenbach started the season with the Rome Emperors and was promoted to Double-A Mississippi just two weeks ago.

The plan was to have him make the move to Triple-A but Atlanta decided to allow him to start a big league game amid Atlanta's struggle to find a dependable fifth starter. Schwellenbach is not the first Braves prospect to quickly rise through the ranks and make an impact on the MLB roster. Let's check out a few players from Atlanta history who made an immediate impact after being promoted to the big leagues.

5 Braves prospects who moved quickly through the minors and made Atlanta look smart

Spencer Strider

One of the most recent examples of an Atlanta prospect making the quick jump from Double-A to the majors is also named Spencer. Spencer Strider was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 2020 and fans were excited for his potential despite coming off of Tommy John surgery.

Strider started the 2021 season with Low-A Augusta but quickly made his way through the minor league system. He started most of that season but once the Double-A season ended, he moved to Gwinnett and pitched out of the bullpen. The Braves called him to the show and he appeared out of the bullpen for two games at the end of the season.

He was used as a reliever and starter in 2022 and has become one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball.

Andruw Jones

One of the most recognized Braves players is Andruw Jones who was signed by Atlanta as a non-drafted free agent in July 1993. He was only 17 at the time and didn't spend a lot of time in the minor league system. Jones made his Braves debut in August 1996 when he was 19 years old and it didn't take long to see why a player so young was brought to the MLB level.

He batted second in his first game and was sandwiched between Marquis Grissom and Chipper Jones in the lineup. Andruw got his first hit in that game and became one of MLB's best players. He is often regarded as arguably the best defensive center fielder in baseball history. Jones spent 16 years in Major League Baseball and slugged 434 home runs (368 of those coming with Atlanta).

Ronald Acuña Jr.

Braves fans know this name well and his impact on baseball is known by fans around the world. Ronald Acuña Jr. was signed as an international free agent in 2014 at the age of 17. Very similarly to Andruw Jones, he moved quickly through the minor league system and found himself at the MLB level at just 20 years old.

A decade later, Acuña is one of the best players in baseball and has an NL MVP and World Series under his belt. He is must-see TV when he is on the field and the Braves are lucky to have such a talented player in their organization.

Alex Wood

Drafted out of the University of Georgia in 2012, Alex Wood was called up by the Braves one year later at the end of May 2013. Wood had a funky pitch delivery but he was very effective on the mound. He spent most of his first season pitching out of the bullpen but made a handful of starts that season which ended with a 3.13 ERA in his debut year.

He joined the Atlanta rotation in 2014 and spent part of 2015 with the team as well. He was a dependable rotation option and provided some great innings but was ultimately traded to the Dodgers after the Braves decided to enter a rebuild. The North Carolina native currently has a career ERA of 3.78 over 12 seasons.

Bob Horner

Atlanta drafted Bob Horner in 1978 and they didn't waste any time calling him up to the MLB level. Ten days after being drafted, Horner was suiting up for the Braves and facing Bert Blyleven and the Pittsburgh Pirates. All he did was hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat with the team.

Horner proved the Braves right to fast-track him to the MLB level and was awarded Rookie of the Year in 1978. He went on to spend nine seasons with Atlanta and blasted 215 home runs and 994 hits during that span.

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