REPORT: Braves to Call Up Spencer Schwellenbach For Major League Debut

The Atlanta Braves are reaching down to Double-A Mississippi for Wednesday's starting pitcher
Atlanta Braves pitcing prospect Spencer Schwellenbach represented the organization in last year's Futures Game.
Atlanta Braves pitcing prospect Spencer Schwellenbach represented the organization in last year's Futures Game. / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
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The Atlanta Braves are getting aggressive with their search for a fifth starter. 

And it’s a call-up that no one saw coming. 

Per a report from MLB Insider Robert Murray, the Atlanta Braves are calling up Spencer Schwellenbach for Wednesday’s game versus the Washington Nationals. 

Schwellenbach, Atlanta’s #3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was the team’s second-round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft out of Nebraska. A two-way player in college, Schwellenbach needed Tommy John surgery and didn’t debut in Atlanta’s minor league system until 2023. 

The wait was worth it, though - Schwellenbach went 5-2 with a 2.49 ERA in his 65 innings, making sixteen starts between Single-A Augusta (thirteen) and High-A Rome (three). Starting back at Rome this year, Schwellenbach quickly earned a promotion to Double-A Mississippi after his first six starts saw him go 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA for the Emperors. 

The biggest improvement was in generating swing and miss. Coming back from Tommy John last season, Schwellenbach’s control returned before the whiffs, opposite of a typical Tommy John recovery. He walked only 2.2 batters per nine innings last season, but also struck out only 7.6 per nine innings. This season’s been more of what was expected from the youngster, with a K/9 of 10.2 on the season after 51 punchouts in 45 innings. His ratio’s been even better in Double-A, where he’s struck out 17 batters in thirteen innings (without an earned run allowed, either). 

The publicly stated timeline for Schwellenbach’s MLB debut was originally 2025, but uncertainty with Atlanta’s fifth spot in the rotation has prompted the team to reach beyond the options in Triple-A Gwinnett for another arm. Of the five pitchers to start a game in the fifth-starter’s spot, only one of them has either an ERA below 4.66 or a non-losing record, and that’s AJ Smith-Shawver. Atlanta’s top pitching prospect made his 2024 debut last week with 4.1 scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs, but was placed on the injured list with a Grade 2 oblique strain that’s expected to keep him out for multiple months. Outside of Smith-Shawver, the other pitchers who have thrown in that rotation spot include Darius Vines (4.66 ERA and 0-1 record in two starts), Bryce Elder (6.46 ERA and 1-2 record in five starts), Allan Winans (10.80 ERA and 0-1 record in one start) and reliever Ray Kerr (11.25 ERA and 0-1 record in one start.)  

Schwellenbach, who turns 24 this Friday, will need to be added to the 40-man roster when called up. Atlanta has an open spot at the moment thanks to designating Joey Wendle for assignment on Monday. If they want to keep cycling prospects through that fifth starter's role, the team can create two more 40-man spots by moving Spencer Strider and Ronald Acuña Jr, who are both out for the remainder of the 2024 season, to the 60-day injured list. 

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Lindsay Crosby


Managing Editor for Braves Today and the 2023 IBWAA Prospects/Minors Writer of the Year. You can reach him at