Top 100 prospect Waldrep hyped for Spring Breakout

February 15th, 2024

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- 's first Spring Training experience will include the opportunity to represent the Braves in their Spring Breakout game.

“It’s pretty cool,” Waldrep said. “You get to face guys you played in college or saw in college. To hear your name in the same sentence as some of those guys, it’s pretty cool to be able to do that this early in the year. It gives you a good taste for everything.”

MLB’s Spring Breakout is a new event aimed to give fans a chance to watch some of the game’s future stars compete against each other. A group of Braves top prospects will travel to Fort Myers on March 15 to face a team filled with Red Sox prospects. The game will begin at 1 p.m. ET and can be seen blackout-free on MLB Network or any of MLB’s Digital platforms (, MLB.TV or the MLB app).

Each organization’s Spring Breakout roster will be announced on MLB Network on Thursday, March 7, at 11 a.m. ET.

Some of the pitching prospects who could be on Atlanta’s roster include Waldrep, Spencer Schwellenbach, Cade Kuehler and Owen Murphy. These four right-handers are ranked as the No. 2-5 Braves prospects via MLB Pipeline. Top prospect A.J. Smith-Shawver is another potential participant, though players on a team’s 40-man roster can opt out of participating.

Some of the Braves’ top position prospects who could participate include third baseman Ignacio Alvarez, shortstop Ambioris Tavarez, outfielder Luis Guanipa, outfielder Douglas Glod and corner infielder David McCabe.

Some of these prospects are still a couple of years away from reaching the Majors. But Waldrep’s rise over the past year has created reason to wonder if he could reach the big leagues during what will be his first full professional season.

This past calendar year has been a whirlwind for Waldrep, who established himself as a top collegiate hurler while helping the Florida Gators reach the College World Series finals last year. A lifelong Braves fan, the south Georgia native experienced a thrill when Atlanta took him with the 24th overall selection in last summer’s MLB Draft.

Waldrep ranks No. 90 on MLB’s Top 100 Prospects list. His ascension has been aided with the development of a split-finger fastball. He has only been throwing the pitch for a little more than a year, but it already ranks as one of the top pitches among prospects.

“I’m just really happy to be here and to be around these guys,” Waldrep said. “I’m just ready to learn and take it all in.”

Given how quickly the Braves fast-tracked Spencer Strider and Smith-Shawver to the big leagues over the past two seasons, it's certainly possible Waldrep could end up in Atlanta this year. He built anticipation as he produced a 33 percent strikeout rate and posted a 1.53 ERA while totaling 29 1/3 innings over four Minor League levels last year.

Waldrep struck out five and pitched around three walks while tossing 4 1/3 scoreless innings in his only Triple-A appearance. Now he finds himself in big league camp, where he could end up throwing live batting practice against Ronald Acuña Jr. Matt Olson, Austin Riley or some of Atlanta’s other stars.

“This locker room has a lot of good guys and a lot of good talent,” Waldrep said. “To be around it is pretty cool.”