Braves News: Murphy and Johnson injury updates, Waldrep dominates in Mississippi

The Braves are inching really close to getting two key players back from injury.
Cleveland Guardians v Atlanta Braves
Cleveland Guardians v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

Injuries have been part of the story early in the season for the 2024 Atlanta Braves. As unfortunate and large as the injuries have been, Atlanta has still managed to post a 26-14 record as we reach the halfway point of May.

As things stand, the Braves sit three games back of the Philadelphia Phillies (who have the best record in baseball). Hopefully, the Braves can cut into that lead as they get some key reinforcements back as the season progresses. Thankfully, Atlanta recently got some promising injury updates on two key members of their roster.

Sean Murphy set for rehab assignment

Atlanta has been without their All-Star catcher since he went down with an oblique injury on Opening Day. With the more than capable Travis d'Arnaud filling the void, the Braves have intelligently been cautious with their handling of Sean Murphy.

That careful approach seems to be nearing the end, as Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos said Murphy was set to start a rehab assignment sometime next week. Murphy should immediately boost the Braves, as his .478 slugging percentage last season was one of the highest marks among everyday catchers. When you partner that with the incredible defense Murphy provides, you get a really big boost to an already excellent team.

Key bullpen piece set to comeback for Braves

The Braves bullpen is set to get a key boost when RHP Pierce Johnson is activated in the coming days. All reports were positive from Johnson's live BP outing, and given the taxing of the high-leverage relievers lately his return couldn't have come at a better time.

Johnson was originally placed on the IL on May 1, with elbow inflammation. No doubt a scary development at the moment, but thankfully it seems Johnson has responded well to the time off. Johnson has been one of the best relievers in baseball thus far in 2024, posting a 3.00 ERA, 2.66 xFIP, and .250 xwOBA in 12 innings.

Johnson ranks in the 90th percentile or better in xERA (2.39), xBA (1.85), Avg. Exit Velocity (85.8), K% (32.0), Barrel% (3.4), and GB% (58.6) via Baseball Savant.

Top prospect posts one of his best outings of the year

Hurston Waldrep is starting to hit his stride down in Double-A Mississippi. After his dominant start yesterday, the Braves second-ranked prospect has now allowed one earned run or fewer in each of his last five starts (each start lasted at least 5.1 innings).

Waldrep's performance yesterday just may have been his best in 2024. Waldrep went eight innings and K'd a season-high eight batters in Wednesday's ballgame. When Waldrep is locating and repeating his delivery these are the type of outings you can expect from the promising 2023 first-round pick.

With Spencer Schwellenbach now making the jump to Double-A to join Waldrep in the rotation, a few more of these dominant outings from Waldrep may vault him to the Triple-A level. Schwellenbach debuted with Mississippi on Wednesday in game two of a double header and tossed six shutout innings with a career-high nine strikeouts.

He and Waldrep are shaping up to be a future one-two punch for Atlanta. Stay tuned here at the site for all the latest updates from each level of the Braves organization.

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