In what’s surely a welcome sight for Braves fans, superstar outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., who watched his teammates win the 2021 World Series from the dugout as he rehabbed an ACL tear, has resumed on-field batting practice in his native Venezuela (video of the session can be seen here, via Spanish-language baseball news site El Extrabase). Acuña sustained the injury in Miami in July while attempting to track down a fly ball off the bat of Jazz Chisholm into LoanDepot Park’s right field corner.
While it remains to be seen whether (or for how long) the injury might sap Acuña’s speed or explosiveness, the news marks a clear milestone in his recovery. However welcome the news, though, it isn’t clear when Acuña will be available, how he’ll be used when he does return, or what effect it will have on GM Alex Anthopoulos’ plans for the remainder of the Braves’ offseason. Regardless of Acuña’s availability, the Braves face several question marks in the outfield; of the four outfielders Anthopoulos acquired around the 2021 trade deadline (Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, and Adam Duvall), only Duvall remains under control for 2022. It’s also unclear how the club plans to handle the return of Marcell Ozuna from administrative leave or whether it views any of its three high-end outfield prospects (Cristian Pache, Drew Waters, and Michael Harris) as ready for significant big-league action.
Other notes from around the game:
- Per Lindsey Adler of The Athletic, the Yankees have promoted former big-league outfielder (and longtime minor-leaguer) Kevin Reese to the position of Vice President of Player Development. Since retiring after spending the 2007 season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Reese joined the Yankees as a minor league scout. Before this promotion, he had served as the Yankee’s Director of Professional Scouting since 2017. In an extremely small sample (16 plate appearances between 2005 and 2006), Reese posted a .385/.500/.385 batting line in the majors.
- The Marlins announced a series of front office promotions, including DJ Svihlik to Senior Director of Amateur Scouting, Adrien Lorenzo to Senior Director of International Operations, Geoff DeGroot to Director of Player Development, and Hector Crespo to Director of Minor League Operations. The full list can be found via the club’s official announcement.
- The Pirates announced the promotion of two minor league managers, reports Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Miguel Perez, who managed the Double-A Altoona Curve in 2021, has been named the manager of Triple-A Indianapolis, and Kieran Mattison, who had served as manager for the High-A Greensboro Grasshoppers, will move to Altoona in 2022. Perez spent twelve years as a catcher in the Reds system, going hitless in 3 ABs with the big-league club in 2005, while Mattison spent nine years bouncing around the minors and independent ball, including stints in the Royals’, Indians’, and Dodgers’ systems.
Question for Braves fans: Would you undo the injury to Acuna knowing how the season played out?
His first-half production sustained the team allowing them to tread along. Without it, they wouldn’t have been buyers. While it was a serious injury, he’s young and watching his teammates win looks like it only made him hungrier. ATL hadn’t won one since 1995, before Acuna was even born, so it was a long time coming with or without Acuna — can’t wait for him to be a part of the next one.
He was likely the league’s MVP if he stayed healthy.
He’s the best player on the team, but once you hit the postseason and small sample size territory, suddenly the collection of players the Braves picked up could (and likely did) outperform what Acuna would have provided.
You just admitted to him being the league’s MVP when healthy, so why would you assume that he couldn’t at least outperform Joc and others, though he was one of the most consistent postseason hitters in 2020, too? No, Acuna most likely wouldn’t have outproduced Rosario’s insane NLCS — but if anyone could, he could. That’s what makes what Rosario/Pedersen/Soler doing so improbable. The idea of benching Acuna, especially with how he looked until his injury in 2021, is silly, but to think of doing that for someone is something no one would do — even if knowing the end result.
He might have outperformed his replacements, or he might not have. The point is the postseason is a crapshoot, but we do know how his replacements performed, and we know the Braves won the World Series. So I’m quite sure near 100% of Braves fans would not undo the injury happening.
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
That’s actually a pretty good question for Braves fans. It’s hard to see Acuna being a detriment to the team in anyway. At the same time there is a really good chance the Braves don’t sign Rosario or Soler if Acuna stays healthy. Acuna could have played just as well as them but maybe not. Any time a team doesn’t have a player who ended up being the LCS MVP (Rosario) or World Series MVP (Soler) there is a good chance they don’t win it.
Acuna occasionally goes through small slumps and there is no way to be sure that wouldn’t have happened in the playoffs in place if those guys. I think anytime a team wins the World Series you never want to go back in time to change the roster. Especially not by replacing players who won series MVP awards. They could have still won it but it’s definitely playing with fire to risk not having those guys on your team. In theory it’s even possible the Braves don’t win it all just by not having Pederson or Duvall on the team. Everything has to line up perfectly for a team to win the world series and changing the roster (even if it looks better on paper) creates a huge risk of things not working out as well.
Pederson was acquired just Acuna after went down but also has history being clutch in playoffs (which he proved right). Rosario was really only cash (sorry Panda), but was injured when they got him and with the add of the DH in the playoffs and added roster – they needed the OF depth. It should be noted that all OF pieces (Pederson, Duvall, Rosario, even Soler) were linked to AA and mentioned as possible platoon pieces, but each signed elsewhere, wanting full-time roles (Joc CHC, Duvall MIA, Rosario CLE), but when AA had the opp to get each for next to nothing, he got them and it worked out.
Carl Pocket 2
No. With how Rosario caught fire he basically played at what most would have thought was peak Acuna. Then add in Soler and Acuna couldn’t have produced those numbers.
Ronald dosent get hurt most likely we dont get Rosario or Soler and have had Joc, Duvy and Acuna.
Nah. Butterfly effect
It’s not like his injury was career ending. I’m sure they’d keep the title and welcome him back next year. Who wouldn’t?
I like that the Pirates are moving their managers up along with their talent. Gives an opportunity for a sustained message during development. Wouldn’t be a huge shock to me if Mattison was managing the big league club in a few years.
I’d gladly take Acuna on the Yankees if Atlanta thinks they are better off without him
No one thinks that.
No one thinks they’re better off without him. They simply understand that 2021 took its natural course. Acuna will be part of the next championship team in Atlanta.
I would trade Harris, Waters, Wright and Wilson to the A’s for Olson, Montas and let Pache take over CF with Ozuna in LF and Jr. in RF. Duvall can serve as the 4th OF so Pache can have room to break and grow!
Of course, I would still re-sign Freeman or if they decide to go another root, DH Ozuna, use Olson at 1B and bring back Rosario/or Soler or both to the fold!
The A’s would scoff at that offer. Scoff, I say.
The Jays did got the MVP on the making Josh Donaldson for Lawrie, Nolin, Graveman and Barreto!
Where are they now? Only Graveman became a RL at best.
Braves prospects seems to be much better and that should only be part of the deal!
The Braves would never give up that many prospects.
Freeman is the better man on the bag so Freeman wouldnt lose his place at 1B. Additionally, they wouldn’t make such a huge trade just to use Olsen as the DH (or even pay Freeman so much just to DH anyway. The Braves would be better served taking that package to someone else such as the Pirates for Reynolds or Baltimore for Mullins though I wonder if that package would be enough.
Pache is not ready for CF so that won’t happen. The guy has to show he can hit major league pitching so maybe an invite to ST to demonstrate otherwise but deciding to depend on Pache now would be a mistake.
Last, while I think Jacobsen is correct, I also think that package isn’t enough to get Olsen AND Montas. It’s not ONLY about matching value to value. The A’s will get plenty of attention for both players, driving up cost and in addition, the A’s might even need some outside motivation to convince them to give up BOTH players for one package.
@salarycapmyth while agree with what your saying I’m not sure the point in Pache would be true this year. If the DH happens and they feel the lineup is deep enough depending on future moves they could easily have Pache as opening day center fielder knowing his gold glove defense would offset the learning curve for the bat. With what is on the market for CF almost makes sense to let him start if you can add another impact bat, ozuna and acuna come back this year easily improving the lineup and making it deeper.
I’m no opposed to Pache playing CF. I agree that his gold glove is where is value is, making his bat more tolerable, but he can’t be as bad as he has been in the majors. It was a small sample size and I am willing to except that as a reason why he batted so poorly but that still means he is at best unproven. So to prove himself he needs to demonstrate to Snit that he can handle the bat to some minimum degree and that starts at ST.
Im completely open to him posting OPS+ of less than 100 because his glove is so good. If he can repeat something around his .744 OPS in the majors like he did in the minors in 2021, that would be enough for me to be enthusiastic about Pache in CF.
I agree. In the event Pache is not ready, they could alway bring back Roxy!
1.Acuña Jr. CF
Nice line up indeed to defend ghat 2021 tittle!
Freeman and Olson would be sharing 1B/DH to get some time of the field!
Makes perfect sense to me for a heavy righty Braves line up!
Salary cap absolutely not Olson is the better defender and it’s really not close. Olson has been an elite first base defender for years.
I’m not trading Harris. They obviously don’t think Pache or Waters will contribute anytime soon though.
This might change your mind!
2.Acuña Jr. CF
Probably going to be something like this
1.Acuña Jr. CF
C’mon to4. The Braves dealt Bryse Wilson (and Ricky DeVito) to the Pirates at the trading deadline. for Richard Rodriguez. Pirates aren’t going to let you include him in your trade proposals to the A’s for Olson.
That’s not enough the A’s would do much better then that Braves package. After really looking at the Braves prospects I think it would be impossible for the Braves to add both Olson and Montas without trading value from the big league rooster. There prospects just aren’t that good and the A’s don’t need langaliers they already have their catcher Sean Murphy. Atlanta better sign Freeman because I don’t see them outbidding others for Olson.
How exactly are players like Ozuna allowed back to the majors? Baseball is entertainment. It’s a family friendly sport and having players who beat their wives sends a terrible message to all kids who watch
It’s no different than letting them watch movies or listen to music starring people who do the same.
Seperate the man from the player and you’ll sleep better at night
Obviously there was more to the story if he was just charged other misdemeanors and offered diversion. It may have been the case that his wife attacked him first. We don’t know. I’d prefer they drop him, but if he’s in good standing with the league then they’ll probably play him, though he wasn’t exactly tearing up the league before he was injured.
If there were some kind of “excuse” like that then there is no way that it wouldn’t have been leaked by his people already (IMO)
The big deal will be how he’s received in the clubhouse. He was pretty popular before this came down and became a non-person the second he was charged.
When is that Acuña to the Yankees trade happening? Going to look great in pinstripes.
You’re such an instigator. =)
The Braves wouldn’t make that trade under any circumstance. Atlanta is better equipped for the postseason than NYY right now.
Yankees fans are insane
Guys, I don’t think York is being serious. If he is than yes, he’s insane.
Not happening with headliner Clint Frazier already gone.
No. Insane would be to the Diamondbacks.
You are going to take Acuna over those other outfielders 10 out of 10 times. Braves hit a wave and it was a perfect storm that ended in a championship.
Acuna is a special talent. A torn ACL is usually a full year recovery. I’d be surprised if he was ready to start the season. I assume they will be very conservative with him.