Braves Look Forward To 2023 Return Of Spencer Schwellenbach

The Braves were routinely linked to Spencer Schwellenbach entering the 2021 draft.

They selected the Nebraska righthander in the second round and signed him for $997,500—or about 16% under slot value at pick No. 59. Not too long after he signed, Schwellenbach had Tommy John surgery.

The 22-year-old was sidelined in 2022 and did not pitch. He will enter spring training healthy with the chance to show why the Braves were so enamored of his potential.

“This is probably one of my favorite picks of my career,” Braves vice president of scouting Dana Brown said after the Braves selected Schwellenbach. “I was so excited to get this guy.”

As a college junior in 2021, Schwellenbach won the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year award. He hit .284/.403/.459 with six homers and 40 RBIs as a shortstop. He went 3-1 with a 0.57 ERA and 10 saves as the Cornhuskers’ closer.

It was his first season as a collegiate pitcher due to a previous elbow surgery. Schwellenbach logged 17 scoreless outings in 18 appearances, hovering in the high 90s with his fastball and overwhelming hitters.

His production earned him the Big Ten Conference player of the year honor.

Brown noted that Schwellenbach’s success as a shortstop added to his appeal, but the Braves viewed him as a starting pitcher.

At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Schwellenbach features a fastball that tops at 99 mph, a putaway slider and a changeup. His change was a work in progress, and if he’s going to make it as a starter, its development is crucial.

The Braves have won five straight National League East division titles and the 2021 World Series. On the farm, they the organization is rebuilding a system that produced the foundation of their current success, notably with rookies Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider in 2022.

Atlanta is betting that more players will emerge, and a healthy Schwellenbach could do just that.



— Triple-A shortstop Braden Shewmake’s season abruptly ended Aug. 6 when he tore a ligament in his left knee following a collision with a teammate. Shewmake was running down a popup in the outfield when he smacked into Travis Demeritte.

Before the injury, Shewmake hit .259/.316/.399 with 14 doubles, seven homers and two triples. He went 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts. The 2019 first-rounder will enter spring training healthy and try to force his way into the Braves’ plans in his age-25 season.

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