Atlanta Braves 2024 Top 30 Prospect Rankings: Pitching reigns supreme

Here is a look at the top prospects down in the Braves' farm system heading into the 2024 season.

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5. Ignacio "Nacho" Alvarez - SS/3B

Nacho Alvarez has been a breath of fresh air ever since he was drafted. His bat-to-ball skills are elite and he has a really good eye at the plate. He is also a very strong defender that can play anywhere in the dirt, although his best position probably is at third. One frustrating thing about him is that despite the fact that he does have some power to his pull side, he very often settles for poking the ball the other way. If he can drive the ball more in 2024, he is going to start getting some more national exposure as a prospect.

4. Spencer Schwellenbach - RHP

After recovering from Tommy John surgery right after the Braves drafted him in the second round of the 2021 draft, the shortstop/reliever turned starter quietly had a fantastic season in the minor leagues with a 2.49 ERA in 16 starts. His stuff plays better when he pitches out of the stretch and there is a chance that he ends up back in the bullpen, but right now he has three above average or better pitches and could move through the system quickly now that he is further removed from his surgery.

3. Owen Murphy - RHP

Owen Murphy was the Braves' first pick in the 2022 draft thanks to a fastball that plays really well at the top of the zone despite not being thrown overly hard and a diverse mix of pitches that were advanced for a prep arm. Murphy repeats his delivery pretty well and, importantly, can land all of his pitches for strikes when he needs to, He may need some seasoning to develop his secondary pitches some more, but Atlanta has to be feeling pretty good about picking him right now.

2. AJ Smith-Shawver - RHP

AJ Smith-Shawver was a somewhat unheralded overslot pick in the 2021 draft who was more known as a guy that played with Bobby Witt Jr. However, Smith-Shawver made a name for himself very quickly with his upper 90's fastball and ability to miss bats. He blasted his way through the minor leagues and made his big league debut in 2023. That may have been a tad too quick to have him make his debut, but he has front of the rotation upside if he can command his stuff on a consistent basis.

1. Hurston Waldrep - RHP

Finally, we come to #1 on the list in Hurston Waldrep who fell in the Braves' lap in the first round of the 2023 draft. Waldrep possesses a mid-to-upper 90's fastball and a splitter that was among the best pitches in his draft class and arguably the best pitch if you pull Paul Skenes out of the discussion. Waldrep managed to make it all the way to Triple-A in his pro debut and is already knocking at the door. His command still could use some work and he needs to simplify his delivery to make it more repeatable, but Atlanta got an absolute stud in Waldrep.

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