We have seen Ronald Acuna Jr. deployed in every outfield spot in his two seasons with the Braves.
When he came up he was in left field. We saw him in center field at times, which surely he is capable of playing, but was not as spectacular. Now, heading into this third season, the Braves expect to play him in right field full time, as they have moved Nick Markakis to more of a reserve role that will likely see him play more left field.
In a recent piece by the AJC’s Gabe Burns, Acuna made it known he is “more comfortable” playing in right field.
“I’ve said it before: As long as I’m in the lineup, I’m happy,” he said. “But I’d say right field is a position I feel more comfortable at.”
Burns went on to add that the Braves expect Acuna Jr. to man right field in the future, and it is not hard to imagine why. He is better suited for a corner outfield position, but his arm makes him a fantastic candidate for right field.
The expectation, for now, is that Marcell Ozuna will play left, Ender Inciarte will play in center and Markakis, as well as Adam Duvall, should have sizeable roles off the bench. But Acuna Jr. in right makes sense in the long term as well. Cristian Pache is arguably the better defender over former Gold Glove Award Ender Inciarte in center, and barring any moves he projects to be the Braves’ everyday centerfielder in the future. Drew Waters would then slide in at left field.
We saw the Braves tease this a bit at the end of last season, but it appears this is how the outfield will shake out this season. Regardless of where Ronald may be playing in the field, expectations are as high as ever as he continues his superstar ascent.