Spring Breakout to introduce Braves fans to Schwellenbach

March 14th, 2024

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- ’s collegiate experience as a pitcher consisted of spending one season as the University of Nebraska’s closer. But it took him just one professional season to make the Braves feel even better about selecting him in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft.

Many Braves fans will get their first chance to see Schwellenbach when he pitches in the team’s Spring Breakout game on Saturday afternoon in Fort Myers. A group of Atlanta’s top prospects will play a Red Sox prospect team at 1:05 p.m. ET. The game can be seen on MLB Network, MLB Digital (MLB.TV, MLB.com, MLB App), NESN, Red Sox Radio Network, SXM App, ESPN+ and Gameday.

“It’s going to really be fun,” Schwellenbach said. “You get to play with all your buddies who are at different levels with the Braves and you get to play against top players from other organizations.”

Schwellenbach ranks No. 3 among Braves prospects per MLB Pipeline. He is the club’s highest-ranked prospect who will appear on Saturday. The Red Sox roster includes Marcelo Mayer, Roman Anthony and Kyle Teel, who all rank among baseball’s top 40 prospects. Mayer ranks No. 15 overall and No. 5 among shortstops. Anthony ranks No. 24 overall and No. 10 among outfielders. Teel ranks No. 40 overall and No. 5 among catchers. Highly-regarded second baseman Nick Yorke will also be in Boston’s lineup.

“I watched Roman Anthony hit when I was in Greenville last year,” Schwellenbach said. “I pitched against Yorke in the Futures Game. He got me. He got a double off me. I saw Marcelo Mayer in the Futures Game too. It’s going to be fun facing those guys.”

The baseball world got a glimpse of Schwellenbach’s potential when he tallied two strikeouts while pitching a scoreless inning in last summer’s Futures Game. This was one of the many highlights the hurler produced as he made a successful return from Tommy John surgery and introduced himself to the professional baseball scene last year.

“It was new,” Schwellenbach said. “Just going more than two or three innings was a lot, because I hadn’t done that since I was in high school in 2018. It was a grind for sure, having to learn new pitches, having to re-learn pitches and having to go through games without what I thought was my best pitch, just so I could learn another pitch.”

Schwellenbach has experienced a rapid ascension when you account for the fact that he didn’t begin pitching again until 2021. He went to Nebraska planning to pitch and play shortstop. But he opted not to pitch when his elbow began bothering him before his freshman season in 2019.

Schwellenbach reintroduced himself to pitching after the remainder of the 2020 season was cancelled by COVID-19. The Michigan native began throwing into a hockey net and immediately became encouraged. His plan to begin pitching again truly took shape when he returned to campus and threw 20 strikes during a 20-pitch side session.

Scouts entered the 2021 season viewing Schwellenbach as a position player. But the attention quickly turned to the potential he was showing while making one or two appearances a week as Nebraska’s closer.

The Braves drafted Schwellebach knowing he would likely need Tommy John surgery. It looks like they could soon reap the benefits of this gamble. The 23-year-old hurler’s fastball consistently sat between 94-97 mph last year. He recently regripped his slider and now considers it to be his best pitch. His curveball and changeup have also shown great potential.