Atlanta Braves 2024 season preview: Hurston Waldrep attempts to make his MLB debut

A big 2024 season could be in the works for the former first round draft pick.

2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship
2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

If you were to ask a random fan of the Atlanta Braves which prospect they were most excited to see in 2024, then a popular answer that you would likely hear back is the name Hurston Waldrep.

Atlanta's first round pick from a year ago, Waldrep quickly became one of the most exciting names in the Braves system, as he went from playing college baseball to knocking on the door of the MLB in a matter of two-to-three months.

Having yet to play a full season of professional baseball as well, that is set to change for Waldrep in 2024. However, just what should we expect from the former first round pick this season?

Atlanta Braves 2024 Season Preview: RHP Hurston Waldrep

As mentioned previously, the Braves selected Waldrep in the first round of the 2023 MLB Draft, taken with the No. 24 overall pick out of Florida. There, Waldrep helped lead the Gators to a national runner-up finish after transferring from Southern Miss prior to the 2023 season. He became one of college baseball's top pitchers last year as a junior owning a 4.16 ERA and 156:57 K:BB ratio across 101.2 IP.

After being drafted by Atlanta, Waldrep would originally begin his professional career in Low-A with one start, but would quickly made his way to High-A where he certainly impressed in limited action. Across three starts, which was also 12 IP, Waldrep owned a 0.75 ERA and 17:5 K:BB ratio, and very quickly after got the call-up to Double-A. There he continued his rise by making three more starts, and even got a promotion to Triple-A Gwinnett at seasons end to make a start with the Stripers.

For the season overall, Waldrep would make eight combined starts from July to the end of the year across four different minor league levels. Across those 29.1 IP, the right-hander owned a 0-1 record with a 1.53 ERA and 41:16 K:BB ratio, while also holding opponents to a combined .179 AVG against.

Looking ahead to 2024, Waldrep was a dark horse to potentially make the Braves' Opening Day roster after his fast rise through the system a year ago, and even impressed in limited action during Spring Training where he pitched 4.1 scoreless innings with a 5:4 K:BB ratio.

However, the Braves opted-to reassign Waldrep to minor league camp back on March 8, which means that the right-hander will begin the 2024 season in the minor leagues.

Still, the 22-year-old enters 2024 as the Atlanta Braves No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and is certainly a name to watch for when it comes to a potential MLB debut at some point this season. As to where that season will begin, it feels likely that Waldrep is either on the Double-A or Triple-A roster to start 2024.

Based on how he starts the year as well, don't be surprised if we see Waldrep in Atlanta at some point during the summer months.

Hurston Waldrep 2024 Stat Line Prediction: 1-1, 4.25 ERA, 42:17 K:BB across 45 IP with Atlanta

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