He makes his debut, as you know, as the No. 1 prospect in baseball. That he struggled early at Gwinnett this year can be traced to a lot of things – disappointment at not making the big-league roster after tearing up spring training, the nine-day layoff after being sent to the minors and the start of the Triple-A season, a burning desire to prove himself yet again by swinging for the fences on every pitch. But he started to hit for the Stripers, and he’ll hit for the Braves.
Maybe not a home run every time up. (That’d be a record.) Maybe not tonight or this next week. But he’ll hit, and he’ll run fast and he’ll catch a lot of balls. If you haven’t seen him yet, you should. He’s really, really good.
At such a time, it’s fashionable for us professional journalists to harrumph, “Don’t expect too much too soon.” For me to say such a thing would be the height of hypocrisy. I expect a lot from Acuna, and I expect it now. If anyone among the Braves suggests otherwise, that person is being … er, less than candid.
This is not just another call-up. For this club, this is the biggest since Heyward, and here were that man’s rookie numbers – 18 homers, 72 RBIs, a .277 batting average, an .849 OPS and a 6.4 WAR. (Oh, and he made the All-Star team.)
I can’t guarantee that Acuna will do that well as a rookie. (This is baseball. There are no guarantees.) I’d be surprised if he doesn’t come close. I know many of you are excited today, and I’ll do nothing to temper that. Heck, I’m excited myself.