June 24, 2024

After being sent down to minor-league camp a few weeks ago, it was clear that Braves top prospect Hurston Waldrep wouldn’t start the season in the majors. However, he won’t be heading to Gwinnett either. According to Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Waldrep will kick off his 2024 campaign in AA Mississippi.

Hurston Waldrep - Baseball - Florida Gators

This development might surprise some, especially those anticipating Waldrep’s major-league debut this season. Nonetheless, there’s no need for major concern. Waldrep has only made eight professional starts, with just three in Mississippi last season before his promotion to Gwinnett for his final outing. Typically, Double-A isn’t a level that many players can bypass, and this decision is primarily driven by roster numbers.

As discussed throughout Spring Training, the Braves have an abundance of starting pitching options. With Reynaldo Lopez securing the fifth starter spot and Bryce Elder being sent to AAA, the Gwinnett Stripers rotation already boasts highly touted prospects like AJ Smith-Shawver, along with more experienced pitchers such as Dylan Dodd, Allan Winans, and Darius Vines, all of whom are older than Waldrep.

It’s uncertain whether Waldrep would have started the year in Gwinnett if there had been an opening. However, if he performs impressively in AA over the initial month of the season, it won’t be long before Gwinnett makes room for one of the organization’s most talented pitchers.

Despite starting in AA, there’s still a strong likelihood that Hurston Waldrep will make his MLB debut in 2024.

Braves top prospect Hurston Waldrep to begin season in AA

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