After back-to-back disappointing NLDS exits, the Atlanta Braves are once again set up to compete for a World Series championship. The Dodgers are doing everything they can to compete, but the Braves are still one of, if not the favorites to not only win the NL Pennant, but the World Series itself. Their roster is just stacked from top to bottom.
While Atlanta will obviously go as far as players like Ronald Acuna Jr., Austin Riley, and Spencer Strider take them, they'll need each member of their 26-man roster to produce. They'll even need players who are currently off of the 40-man roster entirely but could make an impact down the line to contribute.
Last season, Evan Carter turned out to be one of the Rangers' best players in their run to the World Series. He did this after appearing in just 23 MLB games and appearing as a non-roster invitee in Spring Training. These three Braves players are non-roster invitees but could make an impact on their next World Series team.
3) Hurston Waldrep is an ace in waiting for the Braves
The Braves landing Hurston Waldrep with the 24th pick of the 2023 MLB Draft is something many MLB GM's will regret, as they passed on what looks like a future ace for someone else.
Waldrep made just eight appearances in the minors after being drafted last season, but made such an impression to the point where he made it all the way up to AAA Gwinnett for a start. In that outing, Waldrep threw 4.1 scoreless innings, striking out five in the process. Overall in the minors he struck out 41 batters in 29.2 innings of work to go along with his sparkling 1.53 ERA, displaying some unhittable stuff.
Waldrep is just 21 years old so the Braves won't rush him, but there's a very good chance that the right-hander will be ready at some point this season. With questions surrounding much of Atlanta's rotation, we may see Waldrep contribute at some point midseason.
At the very least, the right-hander could be a massive weapon coming out of the bullpen in the postseason. Can you imagine Waldrep pitching in a late-game role ahead of guys like A.J. Minter and Raisel Iglesias? Might just be game over.