It's no secret that the Braves have a loaded farm system. MLB Pipeline ranks the Braves as having the second-best system in baseball entering the 2018 season. And on Saturday, Atlanta's prospects came to play.Ronald Acuna Jr. continues to show why he's one of the truly elite prospects in the
It's no secret that the Braves have a loaded farm system. MLB Pipeline ranks the Braves as having the second-best system in baseball entering the 2018 season. And on Saturday, Atlanta's prospects came to play.
Ronald Acuna Jr. continues to show why he's one of the truly elite prospects in the game. The Braves' top prospect and MLB's No. 2 overall had another monster day against the Pirates. Acuna enjoyed a flawless game at the plate, reaching base in all four plate appearances -- he went 2-for-2 with a double, a walk and a hit-by-pitch -- and he also stole two bases.
Acuna is now hitting an incredible .433 with a 1.095 OPS this spring. The 20-year-old outfielder might start the season in the Minors, but it's likely only a matter of time before he's making an impact with the big league club.
He wasn't the only Braves prospect to light up the box score. Dustin Peterson, Atlanta's No. 16 prospect, went 2-for-4 with a home run, four RBIs and three runs scored. The 23-year-old outfielder is trying to prove to the Braves he belongs on the roster after an injury-plagued 2017. Third baseman Austin Riley -- the Braves' No. 8 prospect and MLB's No. 97 overall -- also tacked on an RBI double in the game.
Other top prospect performances from Saturday's action:
• No. 4 overall prospect Eloy Jimenez (White Sox No. 1) came off the bench to deliver a go-ahead two-run home run to the opposite field in the top of the eighth against the Cubs, his former team. Adding to the drama was the fact that the 21-year-old slugger accomplished the feat with two outs and a two-strike count. The at-bat was Jimenez's second in Cactus League play and his first since Feb. 23, when he struck out against the Dodgers.
• The Marlins-Cardinals Grapefruit League tilt pitted a pair of top prospects against each other. Miami's No. 1 prospect Lewis Brinson, also MLB's No. 27 overall prospect and No. 7 among outfielders, went 2-for-3 as he continued to prove he's ready for a starting job in the Marlins outfield. The 23-year-old is now hitting .393 with a 1.112 OPS this spring.
But Brinson was also victimized by star St. Louis catching prospect Carson Kelly -- the Cardinals' No. 3 prospect as well as MLB's No. 46 overall and No. 2 on the catchers list. The 23-year-old threw out the speedy Brinson trying to steal second base.
• In the same game, Marlins No. 8 prospect Isan Diaz launched his first home run of the spring off the Cardinals' Michael Wacha. The 21-year-old shortstop/second baseman has impressive power for a middle infielder, one of the biggest reasons he's ranked as MLB Pipeline's No. 4 second-base prospect in the game.
• Nationals No. 4 prospect Erick Fedde was solid in his second spring start, tossing three innings of one-run ball against the Nationals. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed two hits and two walks while striking out three in the outing. He owns a 3.00 ERA through nine innings (four appearances) in the Grapefruit League.
• Astros No. 8 prospect David Paulino continued his impressive spring campaign by tossing 2 2/3 hitless innings out of Houston's bullpen. He allowed two runs, both unearned, walked two and struck out a pair as he maintained his unblemished Grapefruit League ERA.
• Cubs No. 8 prospect Victor Caratini, also the No. 10 catching prospect in baseball, slugged his first home run of Spring Training against the White Sox. The 24-year-old had an excellent season offensively at Triple-A last year, and he's trying to win the Cubs' backup catcher job for 2018.
• Anthony Santander, the Orioles' No. 8 prospect, had a big day at the plate. The 23-year-old outfielder went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored against the Pirates, raising his batting average this spring to .353 to go along with a .902 OPS. The former Rule 5 Draft pick could contribute as an extra outfielder this season.
• In the other of Pittsburgh's two split-squad games, Pirates No. 8 prospect Colin Moran also had a strong game swinging the bat, an encouraging sign as Pittsburgh appears prepared to make him their everyday third baseman this season. The 25-year-old went 2-for-2 with a walk against the Braves and is now hitting .360 with an .887 OPS during Spring Training.
• Making his first spring start, Padres No. 13 prospect Eric Lauer posted his second straight scoreless outing as he struck out one over three innings. The left-hander scattered three hits but faced one over the minimum in the performance courtesy of a pickoff and ground-ball double play. He's pitched to a 2.70 ERA overall this spring, with six strikeouts and two walks in 6 2/3 frames.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.