Despite having a solid spring and showing signs of being one of the up and coming stars in Major League Baseball, the Atlanta Braves have announced Ronnie Acuna has been sent down to the minors. Per Daniel Kramer of MLB.com, the team reassigned the phenom, MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 overall prospect, to Minor League camp after Monday’s 6-0 win over the Blue Jays, though Acuna did not play in the game.
The Atlanta Braves have one of the best farm systems in baseball. It was believed Acuna would make the opening day roster, but he may not start for the National League East team.
The Braves are very optimistic about their prized player and the progress he made in February and March.
“We don’t set time frames or anything like that,” Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “I know a lot gets made of that. Right now, it’s just go down and play and get in a routine. He’s obviously looked very good. We just want him to get into the flow, keep doing what he was doing and he’ll find his way back here, hopefully very soon.”
Per Kramer, led the Braves with four homers and tied for the team lead with 11 RBIs, to go with a .432/.519/.727 slash line, fulfilling — if not exceeding — the lofty hype he had entering camp.
“Our priority is, what’s best for Ronald Acuna’s development?” said Anthopoulos. “What’s best for Mike Soroka’s development? Ultimately, we still have a responsibility to the Braves to put the best team out on the field. But the No. 1 priority is going to be the player development of each player, because we want them when they’re up here to stay up here. We want them to have long, productive and healthy careers.
Acuna signed with the Atlanta Braves for $100,000 as an international free agent in July 2014. He made his professional debut in 2015 with the Gulf Coast Braves and was later promoted to the Danville Braves that season. In 2016, he played in only 42 games combined between the Gulf Coast Braves and Rome Braves due to an injury.
After the season, he played for the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League and was named an ABL All-Star. Acuna made his first appearances in Grapefruit League games at the start of the 2017 season as an extra player originally assigned to minor league camp. He began the year with the Florida Fire Frogs and was later promoted to the Mississippi Braves.
Acuna was named to the All-Star Futures Game roster in July, and played the whole game, one of three World Team members to do so.
The Atlanta Braves have one of the most promising infields for the future. In addition to Acuna’s potential, there are Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley. The hope is these four players help the Braves get back to the postseason soon, something the team has not accomplished since 2013.