Bill Shanks had all of Braves nation wondering what was coming when he tweeted this out yesterday night.
Tomorrow is going to be fun Braves fans!
— BillShanks (@BillShanks) July 12, 2017
Big news was upon us, and at about midnight, it became official.
Braves to promote outfield prospect Ronald Acuna to Triple-A Gwinnett – https://t.co/xUxJp2aNs0
— BillShanks (@BillShanks) July 13, 2017
The 19-year old, five-tool prospect out of Venezuela was signed for just $100,000 back in the summer of 2014 and has quickly turned heads, flying up the Braves farm system. Immediately, there will be comparisons to Andruw Jones, who made his MLB debut as a teenager. Those are lofty expectations, but Acuna has lived up to the hype thus far. In his 57 AA games prior to being promoted, Acuna hit .326, with 9 home runs, 30 RBIs and an outstanding OPS of .895. If he continues this kind of performance with Gwinnett, he will be in Atlanta by season’s end, whether the Braves are competing for a playoff spot or not.
Just prior to the Acuna news breaking, it was announced that another one of the Braves brightest young prospects would be heading to AA.
Austin Riley to Double A
— Braves Prospects (@ProspectsBraves) July 12, 2017
Riley’s call up may have been overshadowed by Acuna’s but is just another sign of why the Braves farm system is the best in baseball. Riley is the best hitting third-baseman prospect the Braves have. In 81 games of Advanced A-ball with the Florida Fire Frogs, he hit .252, but what stands out is his power. He crushed 12 home runs, continuing to look like the best pure power bat in the Braves farm system. He is not nearly as far along at 20, as Acuna is at 19, but that is more of a testament of just how special Acuna could be for Atlanta.
The Braves, 42-45, return to action to face the Diamondbacks tomorrow. There might not be much hope for a playoff berth this season, but given the progression of some of their top prospects like Acuna and Riley, the future is extremely bright in Atlanta.