Braves Prospects: Waldrep's electric start, Mejia continues hot streak, and more

Some notable names in the Braves minor league system had impressive accomplishments last week.
2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship
2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages
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Hurston Waldrep shines for Gwinnett Stripers

Braves number two prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, Hurston Waldrep made a big splash in his first Triple-A start of the season. Waldrep, who had one start last season for Gwinnett, returned to Triple-A and put on a dazzling display after completing six innings with five hits, three earned runs, one walk, and eleven strikeouts.

Hurston faced a very good Norfolk Tide offense, who leads the International League in runs scored (338), and shut them down after a slightly rough start. He started off the game by giving up a hard hit double, and then a two-run homer that barely got over the left-field fences before settling in and putting together a dominant performance.

The Georgia native generated 22 whiffs, with a vast majority coming against his splitter (16) which the Tide had no idea how to hit. While his fastball velocity started around 96 mph, it appeared he eased it back a bit, settling in around 93-94, and had better command of it, allowing for better sequencing against hitters.

Once he had hitters back against the wall, Hurston unleashed that splitter which resulted in a season high in strikeouts. After a rocky start to the season (2.2 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 4 K), Waldrep has started nine games and has an ERA of 2.05, while allowing an OPS against of just .603 (.234/.294/.310). The strong season has resulted in him moving up top prospect lists, including recently being named into Keith Law's Top 50 prospects in baseball.

Ian Mejia returns to Mississippi and rights the ship

After making what would end up being a spot start for the Gwinnett Stripers (1.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K), Ian Mejia rejoined with Double-A Mississippi and returned to form, shutting down the first-place Montgomery Biscuits who, like Norfolk, lead the Southern League in runs scored (250).

Ian allowed just one extra-base hit, a double while shutting out the Biscuits over seven shutout innings (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K). The outing continued to show Ian's ability to remain composed when things don't go his way - a trait that may lead him to a lengthy career in the majors.

David Fletcher's dominance on the mound leads to interesting opportunities

David Fletcher's two-way abilities look to be shining brightly on one side of the ball as the second baseman was moved to the Mississippi Braves for a shot at legitimately making it as a starting pitcher.

Fletcher began the year as the Atlanta Braves utility fielder but quickly found himself down in the minors. While down in the minors, David's ability to throw an effective knuckleball led to him getting random opportunities for the Gwinnett Stripers.

Those opportunities became more and more regular as he worked his way from a position player pitcher, to now what appears to be a full-fledged starter for the Mississippi Braves. In his final appearance for the Stripers before his demotion/promotion,

David put together a great line (5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) again, against the top offense in the International League - the Norfolk Tide. It will be an interesting role to monitor over the next few weeks. He even made MLB's top prospect Jackson Holliday look silly with a strikeout.

Nacho Alvarez struggles for Mississippi

After putting together one of his best weeks of the season where he hit .391/.417/.435 (.852 OPS), Nacho Alvarez's issues at the plate returned as he appeared in just four games (three days) and collected just two hits while slashing .154/.267/.154, while most surprisingly striking out four times while drawing a single walk.

Nacho has struggled to hit for any kind of power this year, as seen by his .319 slugging percentage, which makes his ability to get on base that much more important (what is normally a huge strength for Nacho), so without getting on base and hitting for power, his OPS on the season is now down to .697. Nacho missed both games of the doubleheader on June 1st, as well as a third game on June 2nd. So, this is another thing fans will want to monitor this upcoming week.

Ambioris Tavarez surges then sits for the Rome Emperors

Ambioris Tavarez had easily one of the best weeks of his professional career - appearing in 3 games and slashing .333/.500/1.000 (1.500 OPS). Ambioris, who continues to shine defensively, has seen his strikeout rate drop while putting together a sustained streak of quality at-bats which resulted in a fantastic three games. Why three games?

Well, it appears as though after suffering a hit by pitch, in a game in which he later homered, Ambioris appeared in a cast in the dugout and has since sat. It is unknown how long Ambioris will be sitting out, but it comes at the worst time as the super-talented shortstop seemed to be figuring things out on the offensive side of the plate.

Didier Fuentes and Garrett Baumann continue to shine for Augusta

Despite falling to 1-2 on the season, the big arm Didier Fuentes continues to open eyes with a fantastic season. At just 18, Didier is adjusting to full-season baseball an entire year sooner than most international prospects and has pitched fantastic - much to the delight of the big league organization. Possessed with a big arm that regularly sits in the high 90s,

Fuentes lasted just three innings but struck out five and allowed two earned runs which saw his season ERA rise, yes RISE, to 2.90. For the season, Didier has appeared in eight games (starting seven), and has a 2.90 ERA, 10.45 K/9, while walking just 2.32 per nine innings. He has worked his way into many top-30 lists and is a player to watch for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, the 19-year-old fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft, Garrett Baumann absolutely shut down the Woodpeckers of Fayetteville (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) in his lone start of the week. On the season, Garrett has a meager 1.76 ERA across 46 innings pitched (nine starts) with a 2.15 BB/9 rate. While there is still a good amount of development needed from the the youngster, there's no denying the work he's done on the mound, and at 6'8" 245 pounds, there is a to project with the young man.

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