Acuna hits first HR, leads Braves past Reds

Apr 28, 2018, 15:21
Acuna hits first HR, leads Braves past Reds

Acuna's spring training numbers (.432, four home runs, 11 RBIs) further solidified his status as the top prospect coming into this season other than pitcher-outfielder Shohei Otani of the Los Angeles Angels.

The No. 2 prospect in Major League Baseball made his big league debut Wednesday night for the Atlanta Braves, going a quiet 1-for-5. Preston Tucker has been holding down the fort in left field and performed admirably as a stopgap, but his bat has cooled substantially since a hot start to the season (.514 OPS over his past 44 PAs).

"It's fun to watch", Braves manager Brian Snitker said. Unfortunately for fans, he was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett to start but is now headed to the big league club. Though the power was not abundantly evident yet, the potential was beginning to show through while also providing impressive defense in the outfield.

In looking at recent history, I think I have found a season that can be a more tempered approach to expectations, yet still allow for Acuna's incredible ability to flash for the Atlanta Braves this season. After impressing in Florida, Acuna was promoted to Double-A MS where his numbers actually improved. He then added a 19th with a run-scoring double off Scott Schebler in the ninth. That's been taking place over the past week, as Acuna has collected 1 11 hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in 37 plate appearances. Only 40 rookies have ever hit 20 home runs and stolen 10 bases during their rookie season. If he was smart - and a good person - however, he'd beeline for the Braves clubhouse entrance to give the ball to Acuña in exchange for some better merch that is not most notable for having Rob Manfred's name on it.

Instead, Acuna, who got off to a slow start in Gwinnett this season before stepping up in recent days, is set to make his big-league debut on the road. He is slashing.232/.321/.304 on the young season but has come on strong as of late.

It is not always fair to compare young prospects to players of the past, but Acuna has been consistently compared to former Braves CF Andruw Jones for quite some time.

Acuna sparked a two-run rally in the eighth inning that put the Braves ahead to stay. He has superstar talent and the Braves certainly could use it.