Pair of Braves pitchers dominates in Double-A doubleheader

May 16th, 2024

If Wednesday night's Mississippi doubleheader is any indication, the future on the Braves' hill looks scary good. As in the opposition should be scared.

Two of Atlanta's top three prospects, and , dominated their respective starts en route to the Double-A Braves' sweep of visiting Biloxi at Trustmark Park.

Waldrep went the distance in the opener, allowing one run while striking out eight in the eight-inning 2-1 victory. In his Double-A debut, Schwellenbach struck out a career-high nine and scattered three hits and a walk over six frames in a 1-0 win.

“I think it was unbelievable to see these two guys,” Mississippi manager Angel Flores said. “Showing up there what they are capable of, they were electric.”

Waldrep, MLB's No. 75 overall prospect, set the tone in Game 1. The 22-year-old right-hander threw 84 pitches, 63 for strikes. He allowed six hits, but didn't issue any walks, in improving to a 3.32 ERA.

Waldrep was sharp from the start, retiring the side on 10 pitches in the first, which included strikeouts of Eric Brown Jr. (MIL No. 10) and Brock Wilken (MIL No. 5). After giving up his lone run in the second inning on Ethan Murray's RBI single, he didn't give the Shuckers any breathing room, and even struck out the side on 12 pitches in the seventh.

“We had a plan and I think the most important part is that his stuff was there,” Flores said. “Keeping guys off balance and putting guys away, he did a great job with that.”

Witnessing the strong performance of his teammate motivated Schwellenbach when it was his turn to take the mound. Waldrep gave him a high-five and a smile, and skipper Flores told his new hurler "to just go out and have fun."

Atlanta’s No. 3 prospect did just that. His first four innings, Schwellenbach struck out two batters per frame. All told, the righty threw 81 pitches, 57 of them for strikes.

“I was waiting all day to pitch. I didn’t quite know when the first game was going to be done, so I was just getting myself ready,” he said. “I was just trying to do my best and make a mark on my first day in Mississippi.”

Both pitchers started out the season hot, exemplifying why they are so highly regarded within the Braves system. Schwellenbach was bumped up to Mississippi on Tuesday after striking out 34 and giving up just nine walks while posting a 2-1 record with a 2.53 ERA over 32 innings spanning six starts for High-A Rome.

Waldrep (2-3) already had a complete game on his season ledger prior to Wednesday's win. The 2023 24th overall pick has fanned 33 while walking 14 in seven starts with a 3.32 ERA for the M-Braves.

The duo's paths have crossed before, but just briefly. They were both in Rome's starting rotation after Schwellenbach came off the injured list in late August last year. Six days later, Waldrep was promoted to Mississippi.

But it seems like they'll be spending a lot of time together in the future en route to Truist Park, and conceivably for a long time after that in the Braves' Major League rotation.