You can easily make a case that Ronald Acuna is the best prospect in baseball entering the 2018 season, with the Atlanta Braves outfielder knocking loudly on the door to the big leagues fresh off a monster 2017 that saw him jump three levels, prove himself in the Arizona Fall League, and flash plus tools across the board all year. Running through High-A Florida, Double-A Mississippi, and Triple-A Gwinnett during the year, Acuna played in 139 games, getting 557 at-bats and slashing .325/.374/.522/.896 with 31 doubles, 21 home runs, 44 stolen bases, 43 walks, and 144 strikeouts. Then, in 23 AFL games with the Peoria Javelinas, Ronald Acuna slashed .325/.414/.639/1.053 with another five doubles and seven home runs in 83 at-bats, earning the 2017 Arizona Fall League MVP Award in the process.

A legitimate five-tool player who has the potential to be a big league superstar beginning in 2018 despite being just 19 years old (DOB: December 18, 1997), Ronald Acuna is the crown jewel down on the farm for the Atlanta Braves and figures to have a long, successful career in The Show. After seeing him extensively both during the regular season and at the Arizona Fall League throughout the last seven months, Baseball Census has a full Ronald Acuna scouting report below, with tool grades, four extensive game videos, and a (very) high projection for his future.




Ronald Acuna Scouting Report, Atlanta Braves — 2017

Dates observed in 2017: July 16-19; Arizona Fall League

TOOL (FV)
NOTES & COMMENTS
Hit (60)
All-fields hitter with authority; full plate coverage with ability to drive the ball the other way with ease. Above-average bat speed; will turn on dead red on inner half and up; good plane in his swing to take advantage of line drive gap-to-gap game with ease in manipulating the barrel for power. Will oversewing at times and can get long, leading to some strikeouts, but has a surprisingly consistent and effective contact game considering his raw power profile. For me, he’ll fall short of being a consistent .300 hitter in the bigs as he focuses on exploiting power stroke more often with growth, but contact skills will play and he’ll hit for average all the same.

Power (60)
Plus raw power with impressive showing in batting practice and ability to execute on over-the-fence pop in game situations. Easy, free bat speed that’s above-average with plane; power to all fields, though generally finds it easier to turn on the ball with authority. Looks to do damage at the plate, especially with plus velocity. Foot speed will help his gap-to-gap game for years to come, but his over-the-fence pop should be something to watch in another 5-10 years as he ages into his body (still not even 20 years old!); chance to exceed a 60-grade as he exploits that more, I’d suspect.

Glove (60)
Good athlete with skills that translate into the outfield; consistent and reliable enough glove to play all three outfield spots with likely eventual home in the corners as he ages (particularly right field). Engaged and focused defense with great reads off the bat, good jumps to balls in the air; will prove to be an above-average big league defender. Could play some center field to start his career with ample speed and athleticism to do it.

Arm (70)
Arguably the best outfield arm I saw across all of 2017 (at least in the running with San Diego Padres outfielder Michael Gettys, Colorado Rockies outfielder Yonathan Daza, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Robert Henry, and a few others, if not outright leader). Exceptional raw arm strength with velocity and carry on throws, feel for accuracy, ability to hit his target and gun down runners. Athletic arm action with good extension out front; loves to throw and loves to show it off. Some serious arm-side run with his natural arm action, but good feel for manipulation and overcompensation to glove side to account for that with accuracy. Once he reaches Atlanta, he’ll immediately have one of the best outfield arms in baseball.

Speed (60)
Through July series and AFL, clocked several times from 4.19 – 4.26 out of the RHH box; long strides with long legs, impressive runner once he hits top speed. Speed will play exceptionally well in outfield with room to run; not necessarily fastest first step quickness, but true sprinter when he gets extended to top speed. Good feel for base running with ability to steal bags already; will need to work some on reading moves and analyzing pitchers, but that’ll come in time; already shows clear aptitude for running bases, some ability to foresee situations and anticipate plays.

Intangibles
Big, physical kid with athletic and strong build already; some room left to grow into body, not overly lanky but also lean with time and space to add. Will bulk as he ages with potential to push power ceiling some more. Spoke to evaluators who are mixed on his makeup and attitude, but I’ve never seen anything of concern in a dozen looks; upbeat kid who has fun playing the game. Young, yes, but maturity will come; been under intense focus for more than a year now as a teenager, still feeling out how to deal with it, and for me, he looked good working through it at AFL in particular. Seems liked by teammates. Doesn’t appear overly vocal and may not prove to be as much a natural team leader (a la Victor Robles) but upbeat with good work ethic and attitude and no outward concerns on my end.




Ronald Acuna Scouting Report, Atlanta Braves — 2017 Game Video









Ronald Acuna Scouting Report — Notes, Analysis, &Projection

The projection is pretty simple on Ronald Acuna: he’s got a shot to be a star in the big leagues, and even if he falls short, there are ample tools here with athleticism and execution to turn himself into a solid big leaguer at floor. As I mentioned when I profiled similar Washington Nationals outfielder Victor Robles last week in his own full scouting report here, I like Acuna better than Robles as a prospect, with a bit more risk through his development but also a significantly higher ceiling as a potential future superstar with the Atlanta Braves. The next couple years won’t be as easy for the outfielder as 2017 was across three minor leagues levels and the AFL, and he’ll get exposed by big league pitching for a while as he adjusts to The Show, but Ronald Acuna has all the tools in the world with a ton of athleticism and the ability to actualize that combination in time. That makes him a potential future All-Star with true five-tool potential as he grows. No matter what, he’ll be exciting to watch over the next few seasons.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Young with major adjustments ahead, but clear everyday outfield candidate with superstar potential; likely future All-Star with ability to soon be one of the best 25-30 players in the game (65)

MLB ETA: 2018




Did you like this Ronald Acuna scouting report? Get more prospects here:

St. Louis Cardinals RHP Arturo Reyes — CLICK HERE

Colorado Rockies OF Steven Linkous — CLICK HERE

Chicago White Sox RHP Connor Walsh — CLICK HERE

Detroit Tigers 2B/3B Kody Eaves — CLICK HERE

Washington Nationals RHP Austen Williams — CLICK HERE

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