2. Braves should only trade Hurston Waldrep for Dylan Cease
Using much of the same logic as we did regarding Smith-Shawver, the Braves No. 2 ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline is another young right-hander, 2023 first-round pick Hurston Waldrep. And while he could be an asset that could entice the White Sox as a 21-year-old with a strong track record thus far in the minor leagues, if it's not a trade for Cease, he's a future piece for the Braves rotation.
Waldrep was phenomenal at every stop throughout his 2023 season -- and there were a lot of stops. He began the year pitching ust one game in Single-A before going to High-A Rome for three outings. He posted a 0.75 ERA over 12 innings pitched in those starts, which was enough to earn him the call up to Double-A Mississippi.
It was again only three starts at that level for Waldrep and, despite rapidly facing elevated competition coming out of college from Southern Miss, he continued to deliver tremendous results. Over 10.0 innings in those three starts, the youngster had a 2.70 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. That then earned him one outing with the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers, wherein he threw 4.1 innings in a start, allowing no runs on four hits and three walks while striking out five.
Waldrep is another quick-ascending prospect for the Braves organization, which has to be something enticing for the White Sox, but also Atlanta as well. If Anthopoulos isn't getting a pitcher like Cease who has already been a Cy Young candidate before he's signed his second MLB contract, then letting a prospect of Waldrep's caliber go in a trade would be a mistake.
If it means bringing Cease to Atlanta, however, Waldrep is a player the Braves front office would have to seriously consider including in a trade package for the White Sox.