The Ronald Acuña Jr. era is set to begin in Atlanta.The Braves informed the No. 2 prospect in baseball that he'd join the team for their game with the Reds in Cincinnati. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported he will start the game in left field.
The Ronald Acuña Jr. era is set to begin in Atlanta.
The Braves informed the No. 2 prospect in baseball that he'd join the team for their game with the Reds in Cincinnati. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported he will start the game in left field.
Acuña was hitting .232 with one home run and two RBIs in 60 at-bats in Triple-A Gwinnett.
The 20-year-old heated up at the plate over the past week, picking up 11 hits, including eight in his last 10 games. Acuña struck out eight times while taking four free passes in his last 37 plate appearances, hitting .300 over that span. He went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run in Tuesday night's contest at Rochester.
Acuña was hitting .185 just four days ago, but a torrid run bumped up his average. Last season, the Venezuela native batted .325 with a career-high 21 home runs over three levels. After his regular season wrapped up, he compiled a slash line of .329/.414/.639 over 23 games in the Arizona Fall League. He became the youngest player to ever garner MVP honors on the circuit in the process.
Acuña signed with the Braves as an international free agent in 2014 and rocketed through the system. He hit .269 in 2015 between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League, then batted .311 in the South Atlantic League the next season.
By waiting until after April 14, the Braves were able to retain a full season of service time for Acuña on the roster. After posting impressive numbers in Grapefruit League action -- hitting .432 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 16 games -- he cooled off upon his return to the International League.
"We're looking for Ronald to get hot at this point," Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 19. "I know it's going to be talked about and so on, but once he starts to perform, unless there's an immediate need, an injury or we have a lack of performance up here -- more development isn't going to hurt anybody. We'd prefer to call players up when they're performing at a high level, when they're locked in."
Acuña reportedly will replace Preston Tucker in the lineup against the Reds on Wednesday night, less than a year removed from playing at Class A Advanced.
Marisa Ingemi is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.