Braves’ Ronald Acuna named Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America – CBSSports.com
Baseball America, the foremost authority on prospect coverage, named
its 2017 Minor League Player of the Year on Friday.
Acuna, 19, was signed for a mere $100,000 out of Venezuela back in 2014. He led the minors with 181 hits this season and hit .325/.374/.522 with 31 doubles, 21 home runs, and 44 steals in 139 games at three different levels. Most impressively, Acuna performed even better each time he was promoted:
In High Class-A, Acuna was roughly four years younger than the average player in the Florida State League. He was five years younger than the average player in the Double-A Eastern League and nearly eight years younger than the average player in the Triple-A International. Having that sort of season at that age at those levels is truly remarkable. The
comparisons are not unwarranted.
For what it’s worth, MLB.com current ranks Acuna as the seventh best prospect in the minors. Here’s a snippet of their scouting report:
Acuna has the chance to be a true five-tool player. He’s already showing an advanced approach at the plate, especially for his age. His raw power is just starting to show up in games and it could be a plus tool when all is said and done, coming from a buggy whip of a swing. Acuna’s speed is also legitimate, and it helps him be a basestealing threat as well as play a plus center field. If he matures to the point where center isn’t the best option, his strong arm would play just fine from an outfield corner. His instincts, reads and routes would work from any of the three outfield spots.
Given his advanced bat and success at Triple-A this season, Acuna figures to get a long look in the spring next season. The Braves have a full outfield with
, though of those three, Inciarte is the only long-term keeper. Neither Markakis nor Kemp should stand in Acuna’s way once he’s ready.
Baseball America‘s other finalists for their Minor League Player of the Year award were
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox
won the Minor League Player of the Year award last season, when he was still with the
Boston Red Sox
. Previous winners include
, Derek Jeter, and Frank Thomas.