Braves prospect AJ Smith-Shawver impresses again in Triple-A start

Credit: Photo courtesy of the Memphis Redbirds

Credit: Photo courtesy of the Memphis Redbirds

Braves prospect AJ Smith-Shawver struck out five of the first 10 batters he faced in just his second Triple-A start but the Gwinnett Stripers lost to the Durham Bulls 2-1 on Thursday night at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville.

Smith-Shawver pitched seven innings, striking out eight and allowing just two earned runs. He allowed four hits and walked two.

Gwinnett is 21-26.

Smith-Shawver’s outing marks the longest start by a Stripers pitcher in 2023 and his eight strikeouts equaled the most from a starting pitcher (most recently Michael Soroka, on May 23 vs. Durham).

Smith-Shawver went five innings in a road game against Memphis in his first start with Gwinnett, allowing just four hits and two earned runs. He walked two and struck out five in that outing.

On May 2, the Braves promoted the 20-year-old Smith-Shawver – their No. 4 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline – to Double-A Mississippi from High-A Rome. Then they promoted him to Gwinnett after only seven innings (two outings) in Double-A. He only made three starts in High A, then spent just two weeks in Double-A.

Before heading to Triple-A, he pitched 21 innings over the first two levels and did not surrender an earned run.

The Braves drafted Smith-Shawver in the seventh round in 2021 out of Colleyville Heritage in Texas.