Braves’ 2023 first-round pick gets impressive Baseball America recognition

The Braves talent pipeline continues to flow according to Baseball America's latest top 100

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

While things at the big league level have been going great for the Atlanta Braves recently, the minor league pipeline has been looking pretty barren. This shouldn't be all that shocking as the Braves have been very aggressive in promoting guys to the majors that can help them. Between those promotions and picking lower in the draft, the Braves' prospect depth leaves a lot to be desired.

The cupboard is not completely bare, however. Gone are the days when the Braves would have double digit top 100 prospects in the minors, but there is still some high end talent in the farm system. Baseball America seems to agree as they released their top 100 prospect list ($) and two Braves prospects placed among the top 50 prospects in all of baseball.

AJ Smith-Shawver and Hurston Waldrep ranked as top 50 prospects in MLB

Baseball America does a tremendous job when it comes to their prospect rankings and coverage in general. They do a ton of deliberating amongst themselves, leverage their ample connections in the league, and incorporate a lot of data into their analysis as well. As a result, their rankings carry a lot of weight across the league as well as with fans.

AJ Smith-Shawver came in at #42 on BA's list where they noted his quick ascension through the minor league ranks and debuting in 2023 despite being drafted in 2021 as a high school pitcher with comparatively less experience on the mound than his peers. AJ may not be on this list for long as he is firmly in the conversation for a spot in the Braves' rotation this coming season and could exhaust his prospect eligibility quickly.

Hurston Waldrep, the Braves' first round pick in 2023, was a nice surprise to see ranked all the way at #49. Again, another guy who blasted his way through the minors in his pro debut. Given his swing and miss stuff, it isn't outside the realm of possibility that he could contribute early on in 2024 in the big leagues especially if his command has improved over the offseason. His splitter is flat out nasty.

There are a few guys that it would have been nice to see get some love, but fell short. BA noted that Braves pitching prospects JR Ritchie and Owen Murphy got some voting love and Ignacio "Nacho" Alvarez and Luis Guanipa are both position prospects that could get into more consideration for top 100 lists by midseason if they play well.

More Braves News from House That Hank Built