Braves Spring Training Update: Atlanta options top prospect to Triple-A Gwinnett

While his season begins in Gwinnett, Atlanta's top prospect may not stay there for long.

Atlanta Braves Photo Day
Atlanta Braves Photo Day / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves made a pair of moves to bring their minor league camp to 39 players. One of Atlanta's best pitching prospects is on the move along with a catching prospect.

A.J. Smith-Shawver optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett

Between being young, having options, and being relatively new to pitching along with the chance of potential regression in 2024, the chances of Smith-Shawver cracking the Opening Day roster were slim to none. That could have been different had he pitched like prime Pedro Martinez for all of Spring. That being said, Smith-Shawever showed everyone why the Braves are so excited about this young man.

Smith-Shawver appeared in 3 games, pitching a combined 7.2 innings, with a 8.22 ERA but a dominating 12.9 K/9 rate. He gave up four earned runs in his last appearance against the Yankees which ballooned his ERA but Smith-Shawever showed us all what he is capable of.

He was able to maintain his fastball velocity in the high 90s, sitting around 96-98 MPH, and showed improvement with his changeup. These two, to go along with his well-established slider and curveball mix give him four pitches with three already showing at least MLB average to slight plus.

At just 21, and with a total of 164 innings for his professional career, Smith-Shawever continues to show flashes of becoming a bonafide Major League starter, along with the potential to be a star. If the season rolls out the way this writer would like it to - Smith-Shawver stays in Gwinnett for the full season, working on his changeup and curveball before joining the Braves late in the season. He would be a great candidate to join the bullpen and an incredible option for the Braves in the playoffs.

We all know injuries happen and he will likely make a few starts in Atlanta but he has such high potential that being able to focus on development may be the best route for him. Whatever his journey - I like Smith-Shawver's odds.

Sebastián Rivero reassigned to minor-league camp

A backup catcher for most of his career, Sebastián Rivero who signed with the Braves in November of 2023 was reassigned to Minor League camp. With Sean Murphy and Travis d'Arnaud firmly planted as the catchers of choice, and with Chadwick Tromp having earned the respect of the organization, there was never any real opportunity for Sebastián to make the team.

With several pitchers now sent to Minor League camp, it was only a matter of time before Sebastián was reassigned. Sebastián finishes Spring Training going 0-for-6 with a walk and run scored.

We are less than 30 days away from Spring Training and there will be more cuts coming in the next couple of weeks. Keep your eyes on House That Hank Built as we keep you up to date on every roster move Atlanta makes.

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