Aside from Andruw Jones‘ comments on Freddie Freeman, which I wrote about the other day, there were a few other things he talked about on the 755 is Real podcast that I found very intriguing. The first was about Ronald Acuña’s long-term future in the outfield. According to Jones, Acuña has never been fond of playing centerfield. The Braves were just forced to play him there, and he obliged as a team player. However, he’s always felt much more comfortable in right field, where he can “just play.”
Coming off a torn ACL, I highly doubt the Braves were ever considering letting Acuña play centerfield this upcoming season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we rarely saw him play center ever again. Even when watching him play, it’s overwhelmingly apparent how much more comfortable he is in right field. Acuña has a very natural feel for the position and can make the most of his laser for an arm out there. That’s where he’s going to play long-term, and hopefully, this next youngster will be standing on the other side of him.
During the interview, Jones was also asked about Cristian Pache, who has often unfairly been compared to Jones as he’s risen through the system because of his defensive prowess. Jones was explicitly asked if Pache can provide enough offense to make it as a major-leaguer. Here’s part of his response:
I think he will. I mean, it’s all about getting the opportunity. He got into a spot and they had to make a move (last season) because his defense was not as sharp as (usual). If his defense was solid and he was saving runs for the team, I think they would have stuck with him. He had some nagging injuries like hamstring and groin. It’s tough. If you play center field you can’t be having those things. Not that I never played with a sore hamstring here and there — I played hurt more than I played 100 percent. You’ve got to know how to do these things.
I’m not nearly as low on Pache as a lot of people are after he struggled in 2021. Not much has gone right for him to succeed over the last two years. He essentially missed the entire 2020 season because of COVID, and last season, he was hampered by injuries, which led to a brutal start to the year. There is some reason to worry, and it’s highly unlikely he ever becomes anything like Andruw Jones, but I do believe he will end up being the starting centerfielder in Atlanta for quite some time.
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