The Braves spring training roster shrunk again on Sunday, with Atlanta outrighting relief pitcher Jackson Stephens down to Triple-A Gwinnett. The move puts the Braves at 41 players remaining in camp.
With limited work this Spring, and a loaded group of bullpen arms surrounding him, Stephens faced an uphill battle to make the roster coming into the year.
Stephens only made two appearances this month. The first came against the Orioles on March 13th, where he only threw a third of an inning, allowing four hits, two home runs, and five earned runs. He rebounded a few days later in a one inning outing against Boston, pitching a scoreless inning while striking out a batter.
Atlanta non-tendered Stephens back in November of 2022, before re-signing him to a non-guaranteed, 1-year, $740,000 contract a month later.
The Braves originally signed the right-handed to a minor league deal in 2022. He later became a regular face in the major league bullpen, appearing in 39 games with a career-best ERA of 3.69. Stephens was a part of Atlanta's postseason roster last year, with his only appearance coming in the Game 1 NLDS loss to Philadelphia. He threw two scoreless innings and struck out two batters.
He was originally drafted in the 18th round by the Cincinnati Reds in 2012, working his way up the minor leagues before debuting in the majors in 2017. He moved between Cincinnati and Triple-A Louisville over the next two seasons before he was outrighted at the end of 2019 and became a free agent. Stephens played in the Mexican League and Venezuelan Winter League in 2021, throwing around 100 innings between the two leagues before coming back to MLB.
Stephens could still provide some depth to a stacked Atlanta bullpen. Chances are high that he makes his way back to the major leagues on way or another in 2023.