Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, who pitched five hitless innings in Thursday’s 8-1 win, was asked how he’d pitch Acuna if he had to face him.
“Maybe just two-seamers inside,” Foltynewicz said, comparing it to how he pitched to Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, who was the only Tiger to reach base against him, on a walk. “If he hits it, it’s going to go far, if not I’ll just walk him.
“But (Acuna) is something special. This is like my third time watching him play. He’s made some great plays behind me, reading the ball really well. So it’s going to be fun to watch him. Really fun.”
It was the second consecutive game with a home run for Acuna, who didn’t play Wednesday. He has three homers and entered Thursday leading the Grapefruit League in average (.412) and OBP (.512) and was 10th in the majors in OPS (1.130).
He raised those stats by going 1-for-2 Thursday and getting hit with a pitch with bases loaded in his other plate appearance, giving Acuna a .417 average and 1.217 OPS.
“He’s a special player, there’s no doubt about it,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “You can see that when you watch him. He’s just doing what comes natural, I think. Not trying to be great, just playing his game.”
Acuna was the only player in the top 40 in the majors in OPS who had more than three stolen bases before Thursday (Acuna had four).