Braves' Acuna reaches base four times

No. 2 overall prospect doubles, notches two steals, scores a run

Ronald Acuna Jr. batted .325/.374/.572 with 21 homers and 44 stolen bases across three levels last season. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

By MiLB.com Staff | March 11, 2018 12:24 AM

Ronald Acuna Jr. already was living up to his ranking as MLB.com's No. 2 overall prospect in the Grapefruit League before Saturday. Now he's raising the bar even higher.

The 20-year-old outfielder was perfect at the plate in a 15-1 romp over a Pirates' split squad on Saturday, going 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, two stolen bases and a run scored at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida.

"He has done exactly what everybody thought he would do coming in,'' Braves manager Brian Snitker told MLB.com "He has caught my eye for the in-at-bat adjustments he has made. Defensively, he has made a couple of incredible catches in the gap. One was on the first batter of the game and it was the kind of play that could save you a game or put you in a position where you're not having to catch up.

"He's the total package. He's going to be an exciting player for a lot of years.''

The big afternoon lifted Acuna's spring on-base percentage to .528 with 17 total bases in 11 games. After going hitless in back-to-back games to begin Grapefruit League play, he's 13-for-23 (.565) to get his average up to .433.

Plunked by right-hander Trevor Williams with two outs in the first inning, the Braves' top prospect promptly stole second. He walked in the fourth and came home with the game's first run on a double by Johan Camargo. Facing lefty Felipe Rivero an inning later, the right-handed hitter poked an opposite-field single. He led off the seventh with a double to center off southpaw Kevin Siegrist and swiped third. The Venezuela native was replaced on defense in the bottom of the inning.

No. 97 overall prospect Austin Riley was 1-for-2 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored, while Braves No. 16 prospect Dustin Peterson drove in four runs, going 2-for-4 with a homer, a walk and three runs scored.

Fifteenth-ranked A.J. Minter threw a scoreless inning, working around a pair of hits and striking out three.

Pirates No. 8 prospect Colin Moran was 2-for-2 with a double and a walk, and 22nd-ranked Jason Martin went 1-for-2.

In other spring action:

Marlins 7, Cardinals 3 (Box)

No. 27 overall prospect Lewis Brinson went 2-for-3 for Miami, boosting his Grapefruit League average to .393, but No. 46 overall prospect Carson Kelly caught him trying to steal second. Marlins No. 8 prospect Isan Diaz slugged his first spring homer, walked and scored twice. Magneuris Sierra, ranked directly ahead of Diaz, stole a base and scored, while No. 17 Braxton Lee was 1-for-1 with a run scored. Fifth-ranked Cardinals prospect Harrison Bader went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

Orioles 13, Pirates (ss) 5 (Box)

Third-ranked Baltimore prospect Chance Sisco doubled, walked, plated a run and scored twice, while No. 8 prospect Anthony Santander was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored. No. 45 overall prospect Austin Meadows delivered an RBI single and scored a run for the Pirates, boosting his average to .412 (7-for-17).

Rays 5, Phillies 3 (Box)

Jake Bauers, MLB.com's No. 64 overall prospect, went 1-for-2, and Rays No. 25 prospect Ryan Boldt singled and scored. David Olmedo-Barrera swatted two homers and drove in four runs for Tampa Bay. No. 37 overall prospect J.P. Crawford was 1-for-3 with a run scored for the Phillies and No. 7 prospect Jorge Alfaro threw out Kevin Kiermaier trying to steal.

Yankees 10, Mets 3 (Box)

Estevan Florial , MLB.com's 44th overall prospect, singled in his lone plate appearance for the Yankees, bringing his Grapefruit average to .316. Mets No. 10 prospect Luis Guillorme was 1-for-3. Tim Tebow was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and his first walk of the spring.

Nationals 2, Astros 2 (Box)

Fourth-ranked Washington prospect Erick Fedde was solid in his second spring start and fourth appearance, allowing a run on two hits and two walks while punching out three over three innings. Nationals No. 22 prospect Jose Marmolejos, went 1-for-1 with an RBI single. No. 8 Astros prospect David Paulino gave up two unearned runs on two walks with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 frames. 

White Sox 4, Cubs 4 (Box)

Bothered by a sore knee, top White Sox prospect Eloy Jimenez clubbed his first Cactus League homer, a two-run shot in the eighth inning. It came against the team that traded him last July in the deal for Jose Quintana.

Mariners 5, Reds 2 (Box)

Reds top prospect Nick Senzel singled once in three plate appearances and ranged up the middle to make a stellar defensive play in his third start at shortstop.

Dodgers 6, Cubs (ss) 5 (Box)

Top Dodgers prospect Walker Buehler struck out five over two scoreless innings and secured the victory when 25th-ranked Kyle Farmer scored the winning run on Donovan Solano's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth. 

Rangers 8, Athletics 2 (Box)

Franklin Barreto, ranked 66th overall by MLB.com, was 1-for-3, and No. 77 overall prospect Jorge Mateo scored a run for Oakland. A's No. 22 prospect Ramon Laureano went 1-for-2.

Blue Jays 6, Tigers 3 (Box)

Tigers outfield prospects Mike Gerber (No. 11) and Victor Reyes (No. 17) both singled.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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