4/19/2018, From the management: We have moved the Bullpen over to its new permanent server setup. It's a bit much to explain here, but I think it's working mostly. We have an issue where some requests are blocked due to too many images on a page. I'm working on fixing that issue today. Please let me know on User_talk:Admin if you see any issues. Thank you as always for your support.
(Redirected from Ronald Acuna (minors02))
Ronald Jose Acuña Blanco
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 180 lb.
Outfielder Ronald Acuña was the winner of the 2017 USA Today Minor League Player of the Year Award. The son of minor league player Ron Acuña, he was signed by the Atlanta Braves before the 2015 season as a 17-year-old by scout Rolando Petit, who had first spotted him before he had turned 15. His younger brother, Luisangel Acuña, is also considered a top prospect who is expected to draw a large bonus during the summer 2018 signing period.
He made his debut by splitting his first season between the GCL Braves and Danville Braves, hitting a combined .269/.380/.438 in 55 games. In 2016, he played two games in the Gulf Coast League and 40 with the Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League, his season being shortened by an injury. When he did play, he continued to shine, with a batting line of .312/.392/.429. In 2017, he played at three levels, starting in Class A with the Florida Fire Frogs of the Florida State League, where he hit .287 in 28 games. Promoted to the AA Mississippi Braves, he hit .326 in 57 games, then he finished the year in AAA with the Gwinnett Braves, after being promoted on July 13th. There he hit a home run in his second at-bat and finished at .344 in 54 games, his batting average having improved at every level. Overall, in 139 games, his batting line was .325/.374/.522, with 13 doubles, 8 triples and 21 home runs. He scored 88 runs and drove in 82 while stealing 44 bases. He was named to play in the 2017 Futures Game, then after the season was distinguished by USA Today and Baseball America as the minor league player of the year. He was also named #2 on the top 100 prospects list compiled by mlb.com in February 2018. The only player, ahead of him, Shohei Ohtani, was not really a true prospect, having already played a number of seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball, so it could be argued that Acuna was in fact #1.
To say there was a lot of hype around Acuña when he joined the Braves for spring training in 2018 would be a major understatement. Between fans clamoring he be given a starting outfield spot immediately, reporters who were saying he was the chosen one who would turn around the team's fortunes, and observers who made comparisons to all-time greats like Hank Aaron or contemporary superstars like Mike Trout, it was a lot for a 20-year-old to digest. But he seemed unfazed, as he went on a 14-for-25 tear in Grapefruit League games, making it hard for the Braves to send him down, even though from a business point of view, it was in the Braves' interest to delay his debut by at least a few weeks to push back his eligibility for salary arbitration. They did decide to put finances ahead of immediate on-field results, sending Acuna down to the minors on March 19th. He started off slowly in AAA, hitting .232 with 1 homer and 2 RBIs in 17 games for the renamed Gwinnett Stripers, but as expected, shortly after the period to delay his arbitration by a year had passed in late April, he was called up and was expected to start regularly from that point forward. With 21-year-old Ozzie Albies already on the team, the Braves now had the two youngest players in the major leagues on their roster.
In his major league debut on April 25, 2018, Acuña went 1 for 5 starting in left field against the Cincinnati Reds. His first hit was a single in the 8th inning, and he later came around to score the winning run in a 5-4 victory. He wore uniform number 13 in tribute to fellow Venezuelans David Concepcion, Ozzie Guillen and Omar Vizquel. On April 26th, in his second game, he hit his first career homer, a tape-measure blast off Homer Bailey that traveled 416 feet into the second deck at Great American Ballpark. He added an RBI double in the 8th and scored another run as the Braves prevailed again, 7-4. On May 8th, his long home run off Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays was the only run in a 1-0 Braves win; he was the youngest player to hit a home run in a 1-0 game since September 25, 1935, when a 19-year-old Phil Cavarretta had done so. On May 28th, however, he stumbled while running down the first base line in a game against the Boston Red Sox and was taken out of the game with an apparent knee injury. The Braves initially feared the worst, but an MRI only detected a mild sprain, and while Acuña was placed on the disabled list, his stay was expected to be short.
- 2017 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year, Florida Fire Frogs Florida State League, Mississippi Braves Southern League and Gwinnett Braves International League
- William Boor: "Acuna feeds off family, flourishes in Fall League", mlb.com November 17, 2017. 
- Mark Bowman: "High ranking meaningful to prospect Acuna: Outfielder proud to represent Braves on new Top 100 list", mlb.com, January 28, 2018. 
- Mark Bowman: "If Acuna excels, Braves could accelerate path: All eyes will be on Atlanta's top prospect at Spring Training", mlb.com, February 8, 2018. 
- Mark Bowman: "Aaron, Trout, Harper ... Acuna? Scout thinks so: Ralph Garr says Braves' top prospect could be HOF-worthy", mlb.com, March 15, 2018. 
- Steve Gardner: "Why the Braves sent top prospect Ronald Acuna to the minors", USA Today Sports, March 19, 2018. 
- Kyle Glaser: "2017 Minor League Player Of The Year: Ronald Acuna", Baseball America, September 8, 2017. 
- Ray Glier: "Minor League Player of the Year: Braves prospect Ronald Acuna improves at every level", USA Today Sports, September 6, 2017. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Top prospect Ronald Acuna has Braves dreaming of return to glory days", mlb.com, March 17, 2018. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "'Future is now' for Braves thanks to historic young duo of Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuña Jr.", USA Today Sports, May 23, 2018. 
- Mike Petriello: "Albies and Acuna could be on path to history: Only 4 teams have had two above-average hitters 21 or younger", mlb.com, May 16, 2018.