What to expect from Braves prospect Spencer Schwellenbach in 2024

After an injury-riddled start to his career, Spencer Schwellenbach seems ready to take off in 2024.
SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Spencer Schwellenbach was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft out of Nebraska. He ended up being a second-round pick for the Braves due to some injury concerns but the team still values his arm highly.

Atlanta signed him for a $1 million bonus but he would require Tommy John surgery before taking the mound at all. 2023 ended up being the first full professional season for the talented right-hander. He will look to make 2024 a special season.

Spencer Schwellenbach's production in 2023

During his 2023 campaign, Schwellenbach played 13 games with the Augusta GreenJackets, the Braves' Single-A affiliate, and 3 games with the Rome Emperors. Through 13 starts and 51.1 innings pitched for the Augusta GreenJackets, he posted a very respectable 2.98 ERA and racked up 41 strikeouts in the process. In late August, he was moved up to play with the Rome Emperors, where he pitched 3 games and put together a 1.98 ERA with 14 strikeouts through 13.2 innings pitched.

Along with the season that he put up across both minor league affiliates, he was also selected to pitch in the Futures Game during All-Star weekend where he pitched one scoreless inning and rang up 2 batters. This season was a promising early look at a possible starter for the Braves, as it seems Tommy John surgery did not slow down his production in the slightest.

Areas of Development

Spencer Schwellenbach had an impressive showing in 2023, but there are still some areas where he could develop more and take his game to the next level. While his fastball is in elite company topping out around 99 MPH but his slider could use improvement. Although it's been proven to be an effective pitch for him thus far, refinement of the pitch might be exactly what he needs to have even more success with a dangerous fastball-slider combo.

Along with that, his changeup has seemed effective but sees minimal usage compared to his other pitches. Having a 3-pitch repertoire can be tough the further a player progresses, so it may not be a shock if he develops another put-away pitch to throw hitters off.

Expectations for 2024

Currently listed as the Braves' number 3 prospect, Schwellenbach is expected to only improve from his exceptional 2023 season. With the development of his control and velocity across all of his pitches, he very well can end up an extremely strong piece in either the rotation or bullpen for an already-bolstered Braves squad.

In terms of what affiliates he might play for this year, it would be expected that he would continue on his same path of climbing the leagues, but the majors are not to be expected. He is projected by MLB.com to head to the majors in 2025, but 2024 could be a very important year for the development for this young pitcher.

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