ATLANTA—The Braves never questioned righthander Max Povse’s talent. Seeing him put it all together while staying healthy has been more of a challenge.
Drafted in the third round out of UNC Greensboro in 2014, the 6-foot-8 Povse began his pro career on a positive note at Rookie-level Danville after signing and at low Class A Rome in 2015.
Povse encountered trouble following an in-season promotion to high Class A Carolina in 2015. He recorded a 9.33 ERA in five Carolina League starts before being shut down in August with shoulder discomfort.
“It’s difficult to pitch well when you’re hurt,” said Povse, 23. “That’s why I spent the offseason doing a shoulder program to get my body in shape and everything where it needed to be.”
The results of his efforts have been impressive. Povse returned to Carolina this season and struck out 9.4 and walked 1.8 per nine innings over 15 starts. The Braves promoted him to Double-A Mississippi in early July, and he had pitched even better in the Southern League.
Povse went 4-0, 2.65 through his first six starts at Mississippi, showing sharper control (five walks) but missing fewer bats (26 strikeouts) through 37 innings.
Povse ranked among the organization leaders with nine wins, a 3.39 ERA and 117 strikeouts.
Possessing an intimidating presence on the mound, Povse is a fiery competitor with a heavy, sinking fastball that touches the mid-90s and a hard, mid-80s slider with a sharp, late break.
His changeup has made impressive progress over the past year, and his overall command has developed to the point where it is among the best in the system.
“I think getting off to a good start this season was really important,” Povse said. “That really helped my confidence. Now, I just need to keep building off of it by throwing strikes and challenging hitters.”
• The Braves traded lefthanded reliever Hunter Cervenka to the Marlins for low Class A shortstop Anfernee Seymour and high Class A lefthander Michael Mader. Atlanta signed Cervenka out of the Atlantic League in July 2015.
• General manager John Coppolella parlayed a pair of minor pickups—righthander Lucas Harrell (released by the Tigers) and lefty Dario Alvarez (waiver claim from the Mets)—into powerful, high Class A second baseman Travis Demeritte in a deal with the Rangers.