The Atlanta Braves announced on Tuesday that they are promoting right-handed pitcher AJ Smith-Shawver to the big league club. The 20-year-old has most recently been with the Mississippi Braves but hopefully can breathe some fresh life into a bullpen that has been getting knocked around recently. In a corresponding move, the lefty Lucas Luetge was designated for assignment.
The #Braves today selected the contract of RHP AJ Smith-Shawver to Atlanta and designated LHP Lucas Luetge for assignment.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 30, 2023
Smith-Shawver was drafted in the seventh round of the 2021 MLB Draft. After being drafted, he spent the 2022 season with the Augusta GreenJackets, which is the team’s Single-A affiliate. Smith-Shawver began the 2023 campaign with the franchise’s High-A affiliate in Rome, Georgia. He spent a month there before being promoted to Double-A. Smith-Shawver impressed yet again and, after two weeks, was assigned to the Gwinnett Stripers. It has been a meteoric rise as the young talent has now been called up to the MLB after only two weeks in Triple-A.
Smith-Shawver has predominantly been a starter. This year he has started in seven games across the minor leagues. Smith-Shawver has combined for a 2-1 record with a 1.09 ERA in 33 innings of work. He has allowed only four earned runs but has struck out 45 hitters. Atlanta could ease him into his big-league career by using him in the bullpen, or they could shuffle the rotation and give him a starting opportunity.