Some good news down on the Atlanta Braves farm. There were a lot of good pitching performances over the past few days across multiple levels!
It was not the best of starts to Jared Shuster's major-league career; however, that did not seem to impact the young lefty. On April 14th, Shuster pitched 6 innings allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 3 hits, 3 walks, and 8 strikeouts.
He will need to cut down the walks in future starts, but I view this as an encouraging start for the Braves' top prospect. After a tough stretch in Atlanta, he could have let that impact his early performances in Gwinnett, but instead, he moved on and performed well. Hopefully, Shuster strings together a series of potent performances because he will most likely be needed in Atlanta again at some point in 2023.
Dylan Dodd did have a slightly better beginning to his major league career; however, a poor performance against the San Diego Padres forced the Braves hand and sent him back to Gwinnett.
Fortunately, like Shuster, Dodd performed well in his return to AAA. On April 16th, Dodd pitched 5.2 innings, not allowing a run. He scattered 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 8, a strong performance after being returned to Gwinnett.
Dodd truly made a strong impression this Spring and captivated Braves country. Hopefully, he will get back on track because he will most likely be needed in Atlanta again in 2023.
An impressive season debut for AJ Smith-Shawver down in Rome. He pitched 4.2 innings, giving up 0 runs, allowing only 3 hits, walking 1, and striking out 8! A 44.4% strike-out rate is impressive, albeit an extremely small sample size.
Smith-Shawver has an electric arm that has many excited. I already have him as my top Braves prospect and I think he has the potential to really jump up the rankings sooner rather than later.
Find a way out to Rome, Georgia when he is on the mound.
The much anticipated 2023 debut of the 2022 first-round draft pick went about as well as one could hope. On April 14th, Owen Murphy tossed 4 brilliant innings, not allowing a run off of 2 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 6.
The hype around Murphy is high. Braves fans will track his progress through the minors over the next several years, and he gave them an early reason to be excited.
Murphy gets most of the attention being the first pick, but JR Ritchie was also a first-round talent coming to the Braves via a compensation pick. He is talented as well and showed that in his 2023 debut.
On April 15th, Ritchie tossed 3 perfect innings striking out 7. The most impressive start of the season across the minors, and there were several worthy candidates for that title. The debate over Murphy or Ritchie might eventually take over Braves country, but I am thankful the Braves have both.
Seth Keller has a shot to be an under-the-radar gem from the 2022 class. It was highlighted by 3 bright young high school arms and even Adam Maier a round later. However, there is some belief that Keller might surprise some people.
In his first game, he threw 3 scoreless innings, allowing only 2 hits, walking no one, and striking out 4. A brilliant start for the 18-year-old. There will be some growing pains, but he is a name to keep an eye on, maybe he can make a name for himself.
Adam Shoemaker comes in as a rather unknown prospect to most, down at 27 on MLB's ranking of the Braves' top prospects. However, there is plenty to like about his potential.
That was on display when earlier this week he tossed a near-perfect 3 innings, allowing just one base runner on a walk, and striking out 4. A marvelous start to the season for Shoemaker who could be quick to Rome if he pitches well in Augusta.
Overall, a tremendous week on the farm for the pitching staff. These prospects totaled 31.1 innings, 16 hits, 9 walks, 1 ER, and 46 strikeouts. That is a 0.29 ERA and 0.80 WHIP.
A week worth highlighting and shows how exciting some of the arms the Braves have on the horizon.