MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – We’ve talked for six weeks – since the start of spring training – about Ronald Acuna, the young man who has already been crowned a future MLB star but has yet to have a MLB at bat.
He’s got great talent, but the Braves sent him down to Triple-A so they could have an extra year of control of his contract. Then, Acuna started off slowly, batting below .150, so the Braves left him down in Gwinnett. He could have come up last Saturday, but the Braves wanted him to play his way out of the minor leagues. Well, Tuesday night, Acuna hit his first home run and drove in his first two runs of the season.
It was a great sign. — You can’t blame the Braves for making Acuna earn his way out of the minor leagues, and they are just like us – they can’t wait to see him in Atlanta. Now, that he’s gotten off the schnied by finally hitting a home run, it probably won’t be long. We’ll see if the Braves bring Acuna up before they leave on the road trip Sunday night.
The situation was a little more difficult because of the success of Preston Tucker, who was just supposed to fill-in at left field until Acuna was ready. Well, Tucker leads the Braves in RBI with 13 in the first 16 games. It’s hard to just move him out of the way to make room for a hot shot prospect, who has not done well so far in Triple-A.
But again, we’ll probably see Acuna soon. When Acuna comes up, he might be the second-most heralded young player on the Braves team. Fans are falling in love with Ozzie Albies, and it’s no big surprise. This kid can play. He’s short, just like Houston’s Jose Altuve. But he can hit, just like Houston’s Jose Altuve. The bat speed and his hands can really generate some power, and no one could have predicted Albies would have five home runs in the first three weeks. But, Albies is just a good hitter. He knows what he’s doing at the plate. And, he’s pretty good in the field, as well.
The Braves early-season success can be attributed to the great start by Albies and the bounce back from Dansby Swanson. They are doing well together. I know the Braves bullpen has had trouble in the last few games, but overall, they were really good before last Saturday’s nightmare at Wrigley Field.
The Braves have surprised some with the good start, and we just have to remember this roster is going to get better. Acuna will make the team better. When he’s ready, and it’ll be soon, Mike Soroka will make the rotation better. But give the Braves credit for starting strong, and with a softer schedule the next few weeks they may be able to keep that winning record. Let’s see what the Braves do starting Thursday, when they host the first-place Mets.
But so far, in the first three weeks, the Braves are doing well. Let’s hope it continues.