Acuna displays arm, bat strength in Futures

Outfielder unleashes 2 rocket throws, belts 112-mph flyout

July 10th, 2017

MIAMI -- As he has flown through the Braves' farm system, Ronald Acuna has shown he has all the tools to become a Major Leaguer. On Sunday at the 2017 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the 19-year-old continued to prove just how well-rounded he is with his arm strength in the outfield and solid contact at the plate.
In a 7-6 victory for the U.S. team, Acuna showed off his arm from right field with two rockets that clocked in at 95.2 and 96.7 mph, according to Statcast™, further backing the idea that he might become a big league outfielder in the near future.
"[Those throws are] something that I do all natural," Acuna said through an interpreter. "I don't try to do too much. [My arm strength] is just something natural."
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Acuna has been known for his offensive success throughout his three seasons in the Minors, especially this year, slashing .312/.361/.497 with 11 home runs and 48 RBIs at Class A Advanced and Double-A. In Sunday's Futures Game, he connected for the only barreled ball of the game on a flyout that had an exit velocity of 112.3 mph, according to Statcast™, which is harder than any batted ball by the Braves this season. Atlanta's hardest hit in 2017 came on a home run by Matt Kemp at 111.9 mph on April 6.
"I just keep working hard," Acuna said of his approach at the plate. "And I just need to be consistent."
The young outfielder also received an honor he was not expecting -- playing the full nine innings on Sunday, alongside just two other players on the World Team. Overall, only six players stayed in for the entire game.
"I was surprised," Acuna said. "I was not expecting to play the whole game, but it was something good and something really fun for me."
Since 2015, Acuna has advanced from Rookie ball to Double-A, hitting a solid .299 throughout his Minor League stint. He has looked like a steal for the Braves, as he signed for $100,000 in 2014 and is now ranked by as the game's 86th-best prospect and No. 7 in the Braves' system.
Acuna puts on a show in BP
Also representing the Braves on the World Team on Sunday was right-hander Mike Soroka, who pitched one inning and allowed an unearned run on one hit with a strikeout. Acuna said playing alongside Soroka and the other top prospects was something he could learn from.
"It was a very good experience," Acuna said. "We wanted to have fun and to play baseball, and we did it."