4. Ronald Acuna Jr.’s Great Start
Last seasons Rookie of the Year is back this season in a new spot. Acuna will be manning the cleanup spot for the foreseeable future. I don’t know how long this experiment will last, or if it will crash and burn, or turn Acuna into an MVP. But I know Acuna was one of the only bright spots for the Braves in what was a dreadful day for the team. The second-year star seems to be ready to make his step up to the next level of his development. And if he can do that, the Braves are going to have a superstar on their hands.
Acuna showed a good eye yesterday by notching two walks. When he did swing the bat, he went 1-2 and snagged an RBI late in the game. Acuna also went 1-1 in his only at-bat with runners in scoring position, which is a nice sign that he has no problem hitting anywhere in this lineup. If Acuna can produce from the cleanup spot everything will go better for this Braves team, like Freddie Freeman getting more pitches to swing at. The Braves have been looking for a long time to give Freeman that cushion behind him so he can get more good pitches. No disrespect to Nick Markakis, but last seasons cleanup guy is nowhere close to the ability that Acuna has. Acuna showed off his speed to by stealing his first base which led to him scoring when Nick Markakis knocked him home to score the first run of the Braves season.
Acuna is the key to the Braves offense. Pairing him with Freddie Freeman is going to give the Braves many more opportunities to get on the board early and often. We saw it yesterday with Acuna’s speed on display early. If Acuna gets off to a hot start, the Braves could find themselves in good shape for the early days of baseball. However, this could all change if Ender Inciarte continues to have games like the one yesterday. No matter where Acuna is hitting, he will be okay. The Braves didn’t have many bright spots on Opening Day, but Acuna was one of the few.