I'm going to try to keep my fanboy excitement down as much as possible but I feel like I need to go on record here: Ronald Acuna is going to be a superstar. I'm not talking 5 or 10 years down the road for MLB's #1 overall prospect I'm talking this summer at SunTrust Park.
Acuna will be what Aaron Judge was with the Yankees last summer. Acuna's 20-year-old baby face is going to be everywhere. I haven't been this excited for a Braves prospect since Andruw Jones came up in the mid 90's.
Last year Acuna was the minor league baseball player of the year after hitting .325/.374/.522 across three levels of affiliates in the Braves system. Along with his 60 extra base hits and 44 steals Acuna plays a terrific centerfield but will more than likely play a corner OF position in Atlanta with Gold Glove winner Ender Inciarte entrenched in center. Still in his teens at the time Acuna has played three years now in the Braves minor league system since being signed out of Venezuela and has shown remarkable improvement at every level.
Of course one could argue it would be the prudent business decision for the Braves to keep Acuna in the minors after breaking spring training camp. This would save the Braves a year of service time if they call him up in May. Basically it would delay Acuna's free agency year to 2025 instead of 2024. But if Acuna is as good as people think the Braves better have a long term contract in the works way before free agency looms. Which is why I believe if Acuna crushes it in Spring Training as I expect he will he needs to be in the starting line up come April in Atlanta.
“I showed up early to try and win this roster spot and prove that I’m ready and give it my all,” said Acuna. This isn't Acuna's first visit to Braves spring training camp in Orlando. Last year he played in 13 Grapefruit league games and hit .296 in 27 at-bats. “I was hoping they would invite me to come to the spring training camp and give me an opportunity to fight for a roster spot,” he said.
If the Braves want to create some excitement for this season after 4 long rebuilding years it would be nice to see Acuna in a #24 jersey come spring. He's proven he can already hit at AAA Gwinnett so a little bit more of minor league seasoning isn't gonna do much but show that the Braves are being cheap. A young lineup with Ender, Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, and Acuna would put a lot of asses in the seats with a lot of runs on the board.
P.S - Acuna you aren't fooling me with this "No speaka English" Vladimir Guerrero act you got going. 3 years of traveling in buses all around the Southeast will teach you all you need to know about the English language. It will also teach a lot about whiskey and women but that's another story for another day.