The Braves may not be competitive in the NL East this year but there’s a lot to look forward to. Outfielder Ronald Acuna is one of the bright spots this season.
The Atlanta Braves have four of the top-50 prospects this season. They all have a shot to make the big leagues one day but one is all but guaranteed to make his MLB debut this season and he is Ronald Acuna. With his performance in the minors last season and so far in spring training, he could be a top-40 outfielder by the end of the year.
Acuna is listed as MLB’s No. 2 prospect. At just 20-years old, Acuna is cruising through the minors. It won’t be long before he joins the Braves roster.
He displayed a crazy combination of speed, contact and power last season. Between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A, Acuna racked up 21 home runs, 82 RBI, 88 runs with a .325 batting average. He also stole 44 bases in 64 attempts.
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Acuna has brought his talents to spring training. After just 19 at-bats, he has eight hits, one homer, four RBI and two runs with a .421 average. Acuna has two steals as well. He is atop the leaderboard in hits.
Despite his success, Acuna will likely spend at least the first two weeks of the season in the minors. It’s unfortunate, but in order for the Braves to have another year of control, that’s what they have to do. We’ve seen this happen to a lot of other prospects that deserve to be on the Opening Day roster.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s on the roster by the beginning of May. The Braves aren’t likely to compete for an NL East title, let alone a playoff appearance. So, the pressure to keep their prospects in the minors is minuscule.
The Braves depth chart on MLB.com doesn’t have Acuna on the roster. Their Roster Resource page lists him as their starting left fielder. Lane Adams and Preston Tucker are ranked ahead of him, but I see that changing a bit by the end of spring training.
Acuna is one of the few players with the combination of power, contact and speed. While the Braves may not have a complete lineup, pairing him with Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies makes for an interesting top of the order.