Braves News: Hurston Waldrep's debut, Jesse Chavez reaches milestone, and more

It has been a rough stretch for the Braves but let's examine some recent news out of Atlanta.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves find themselves in the middle of rough stretch as they lost their series with the Nationals three games to one. Atlanta is 2-6 against the Nationals this season and they won't see them again until August.

The Braves finished May with a record below .500 (13-14) and find themselves 3-5 so far in June. It's been a struggle for the team to find their footing offensively and if it weren't for a great first month of the season, this team would be in a very bad spot.

They already find themselves down nine games in the division as the Phillies haven't shown any signs of slowing down. However, this doesn't mean the division is out of reach as the team has overcome a large deficit before to win the division.

Luckily for the team, they are 4.5 games up in the first wild card spot and would be in the playoffs if the season were to end today. However, with how rough things have been lately, they cannot continue to sustain this level of poor performance if they hope to make it there at season's end.

However, there were some positives to take away from the series with Washington and we will highlight them below.

Hurston Waldrep's Braves debut soured by pesky Nationals offense

Atlanta surprised fans when they announced top pitching prospect Hurston Waldrep would be making his MLB debut on Sunday. His debut came eleven months after being drafted as the team's number one pick in 2023.

The University of Florida product and Georgia native caught everyone's attention with his great pitch mix which is headlined by a devastating splitter. His debut was delayed a bit as first pitch was moved back due to inclement weather.

However, he looked great through the first three innings and didn't allow a hit during that stretch. He faced the minimum through three innings and notched his first MLB strikeout against former Brave Eddie Rosario. That strikeout was impressive but no one was as excited as Waldrep's mother on Sunday afternoon.

The second time through the order was a different story for him unfortunately. Washington tagged Waldrep for seven runs that inning and all of the runs scored came with two outs in the inning. His command struggles were noticeable as he issued three walks in the inning and just couldn't put batters away. Three of the runs scored after Aaron Bummer checked in to try and put out the fire.

His final line was 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 1 K on 62 pitches (38 strikes). Waldrep seemed pleased with his debut for the most part as he stated after the game, “I should have made some pitches when we needed it, but overall when I did make the pitch it was really good.”

He's right that is wasn't an ideal debut but you can see exactly why the Braves are excited for Waldrep's future. His splitter is a plus pitch and his fastball plays well. The command is the one thing that needs to improve and more experience will help him develop into a great rotation piece for Atlanta.

Jesse Chavez earns impressive career milestone

The ageless wonder known as Jesse Chavez continued to add to what has been an incredible journey. He has played for more teams that you could imagine but there's something about Atlanta that brings the best out of him.

2024 could be Chavez's curtain call and if it is, there isn't a better place for him to end things. He added to an impressive resume on Sunday collecting career strikeout 1,000 to end the fifth inning of Atlanta's loss to the Nationals.

He pitched 1.2 innings with two walks and three strikeouts to reach this impressive and monumental moment. Chavez has continued to be one of the best parts of the Atlanta bullpen.

His 2024 ERA sits at 1.37 through 26.1 innings pitched. He has walked 10 batters while striking out 20 over that time frame. The walk rate is something that needs to be improved but so far it hasn't really hurt him. Congratulations to Jesse on this wonderful achievement.

Sean Murphy is healthy and slowly figuring things out

The Braves have struggled with injuries this season so getting catcher Sean Murphy back was important. He impressed in his rehab stint with the Gwinnett Stripers and homered twice while there.

It took him a minute to get reacclimated with MLB pitching but he's starting to get there. He did hit a solo home run during Atlanta's series with the Nationals this weekend. He's not lighting things up yet but that will come as he gets used to being back on the field every day.

His defense is extremely valuable so just having that is a great upgrade for the Braves. He has a .147 average including one homer and four RBI over a small sample size of 34 at-bats. The team desperately needs someone to step up offensively and hopefully that will come for Murphy but for now, the team is just happy to have him back and healthy.

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