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Saturday, February 3, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL PROSPECT WATCH: RONALD ACUNA IS SET TO BE NEXT FIVE-TOOL STAR

You can already see it a mile way.  Atlanta Braves top outfield prospect (and likely top overall prospect) Ronald Acuna is going to be the rookie sleeper that has the most outlandish ADP this season in fantasy baseball, so great already is the hype surrounding the kid.  While he may not even begin the year with the team, Acuna is still at the very top of every sleeper list for anyone in the fantasy baseball community and all for someone who is just 20-years-old and has not even played one game in the majors.  This is what happens though when you are lauded for some amazing athletic tools which Acuna possesses; starting with his burgeoning power and lightning speed that should make him a power/base stealing monster in short order.  We saw all those skills on display a year ago as Acuna blazed through three different levels of pro ball 9 (A-Ball, Double-A, and Triple-A) where hit a combined 21 home runs, stole a composite 44 bases, and batted a scorching .326 and .344 at the latter two levels.  Drawing walks at a decent clip for a young hitter (over 7.0 BB/9 at Double-A and Triple-A last season), Acuna also makes a high rate of contact which should help him be a batting average asset right from the jump.  The steals will also be immense and 30 should easily be in Acuna's reach as well.  The power is certainly starting to show as well and 20 is in the realm of possibility for Acuna as he continues to gain strength.  The only real question is when Acuna will make his first start for the Braves given the annual arbitration clocks that personnel executives obsess over.  We could surely be seeing a situation like with what the Chicago Cubs did with Kris Bryant a few years ago when they kept him in the minors until the middle of his rookie year despite a monster spring in order to preserve another season before he reached arbitration.  So in that sense, it is likely the Braves will trot out Ender Inciarte, Lane Adams, and Nick Markakis right away until that clock date passes.  Once this does take place, then look out as Acuna is set to be the next superstar who will be a first round pick as soon as 2019.


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