At only 19 years old, Ronald Acuna has been one of the most impressive young prospects this Spring. With 6 hits in his first 11 at bats, he is one of the biggest names to keep an eye on throughout the remaining part of Spring Training. His pure talent at such a young age has many in the organization believing this kid is something special. With a frame of 6” and 180 pounds, he has a slightly smaller build, but has all the tools needed to be a 5 tool player. In his first start in major league camp Thursday, he went 3-4 with two doubles and received huge praise from both Brian Snitker and Chipper Jones. “He’s going to be a young big leaguer. He’s just one of those guys. Reminds me of Andruw running around out there at 19.” said Snitker.
At 17, Acuna was a low profile signing coming out of Venezuela in 2014. Since signing, he has been anything but low profile since. In 2016, he hit .312 with 4 home runs and stole 14 bases in 42 games with Rome. Unfortunately, he was plagued with a thumb injury that sidelined him for part of the season. Because of the injury, he was sent to play winter ball in Australia where he made the All-Star team playing with competition significantly older than him. He has produced at every level thus far and shown how developed he is at such a young age.
With the extension of Inciarte and the remaining contracts of Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis, there is certainly no need or plans by the Braves to rush him through the system. Depending on the rest of Spring Training, he will figure to start out again with Rome and progress accordingly. If healthy, Acuna can quickly move through the system this year and be the next best bat knocking on the door of Atlanta behind Swanson and Albies. His maturity at 19 gives Braves fans a name to keep an eye on this season because Acuna could be ready a lot sooner than expected.