Ronald Acuna is hitting his stride, and spectators are seeing why the outfielder largely is considered the best prospect in baseball.
Acuna was 3-for-3 on Friday against the Yankees, including a home run to deep center off Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees won 5-4, but Acuna’s homer was the biggest headline of the day.
“He got me pretty good,” Tanaka said through an interpreter.
“I was excited to face such a tough pitcher like Tanaka out there,” Acuna said, also through an interpreter. “I’m very proud of this opportunity, and I’m glad it can happen. Thankfully it worked out mostly, we weren’t able to win, but I did what I can do. Just do my best and help the team win all you can.”
After his second hit, a third-inning single, Acuna stole his second base of the spring. He singled again in the fifth.
“Whenever I step in the batter’s box, I just try to focus and make sure I stay on task,” he said. “So my goal when I get in there is try to look for a fastball and make good contact and connect. Luckily I saw a pitch and was able to make an adjustment and got some good wood on it.”
Acuna started the spring 1-for-9, but since then has had three consecutive multi-hit games. In those games, Acuna was 7-for-10, with the homer and six singles.
“I felt comfortable from the first time I went out there,” he said. “The results weren’t there, but it’s just about process and developing, and just making adjustments as you go along.”
The 20-year-old insists he’s done little differently over the past three days. He’s just thankful to finally see results.
“I haven’t really changed anything, nothing like that,” Acuna said. “It’s just about the process. We just weren’t getting the results and I’m glad we’re starting to now.”
Braves manager Brian Snitker is happy with the progress Acuna and other younger players are making in just the early parts of the spring.
“He’s swinging the bat good,” Snitker said. “It’s almost like the more at-bats they’re getting, they’re kind of settling in. They’re playing their game now, more than anything. ... So it’s neat.”