Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies talk about teaming up in the major leagues every day. The Braves’ top two positional prospects are developing a friendship they consider a brotherhood.
“Since he got here, the first year (with the organization), we’ve been having a good relationship with each other,” Albies said of Acuna. “We always hang out with each other. We feel like a brother from another mother, you know? And now we’re actually living together, and that’s comfortable.”
Acuna, 19, and Albies, 20, said they have a friendly rivalry that’s escalated since Acuna joined Triple-A Gwinnett last week. The outfielder Acuna jumped the second baseman Albies in most midseason prospect rankings, and they tease each other about it.
“We always talk a lot, and we joke a lot about that,” Acuna said through an interpreter. “But I’ve known Ozzie for quite a bit, and he’s always been like a big brother to me. He’s always helped me through my career and also in spring training as well. So he’s like a big brother to me and he’s helped me a lot.”
That comment was humorous to Albies. After speaking with reporters Tuesday, Acuna returned to the clubhouse and told Albies he was a point of the media’s interest.
“He came in and said, ‘hey, they asked me about you,’” Albies said. “And I laughed. He said, ‘yeah, I told them you’re like my older brother.’ I’m like, there’s one year difference!”
Both players complimented the other’s recent performance. Albies said he’d never seen a ball hit as hard as Acuna’s homer Monday night. Former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones watched the Gwinnett players take batting practice Tuesday, and they added that he has helped them improve their fundamentals.
Albies said his native country, Curacao, and Acuna’s Venezuela are about a 20-minute flight from one another. The friends clicked the moment they met.
“When I saw him first, he came to me, and we just started getting along good with each other,” Albies said. “People say we kind of look similar, but I don’t know. Maybe it’s the crazy hair.
“We’re good friends with each other. We talk about everything with each other. Family stuff, problems, everything. Whatever it is we talk about it.”
There’s no topic too personal for the duo to discuss. But make no mistake, baseball is at the forefront, with the two admittedly talking about suiting up for the big-league Braves.
“That’s something you talk about at least once a day,” Albies said. “We talk about baseball and stuff. Like, both of our dreams have been to play in the majors for a while.”
While both watch the Braves, neither said they’re worried about the roster construction and how it may influence their promotions. They’re worried about staying consistent, so one day — perhaps even soon — they’ll share stories at the MLB level.