Kevin Gausman takes the bump for the Atlanta Braves while their lineup gets the task of facing the Washington Nationals and new addition Patrick Corbin. The Braves sit at 11-7 in Grapefruit League play behind the resurgence of Ronald Acuna (who is in the lineup today) while the Nationals are just 9-8 so far in spring training.
The Braves look poised to be one of the most exciting young teams in baseball this year. With franchise cornerstone Freddie Freeman providing a steady presence in the lineup, 2018 saw the coming out parties for Ronald Acuna Jr and Ozzie Albies. Extremely talented young ballplayers, Acuna offered much-needed lineup protection while Albies hits for great average at the bottom of the order and is instrumental in helping the lineup turnover. Especially when you add super-prospect Dansby Swanson to the mix, the young core headlined by Ronald Acuna is one of the best in the league.
Missing former star player Bryce Harper, the Nationals still have a lot to be excited about heading into 2019. With an already lethal staff bolstered by the addition of Patrick Corbin, the Nationals roll out one of the best starting rotations in baseball. Even without Harper in the mix, they still have dynamic infielder Trae Turner to go along with a number of above-average hitters littering the lineup.
Atlanta Braves Lineup Today
(Braves Lineup Courtesy of BaseballPress)
1. Ozzie Albies 2B
2. Dansby Swanson SS
3. Ronald Acuna Jr. CF
4. Johan Camargo RF
5. Adam Duvall DH
6. Austin Riley LF
7. Pedro Florimon 3B
8. Sean Kazmar Jr. 1B
9. Raffy Lopez C
SP – Kevin Gausman RHP
Ronald Acuna Stats & Spring Training Highlights
Ronald Acuna Jr had himself a breakout season at the heart of the Braves order in 2018 and has taken his hot play into spring training. While not posting the otherworldly numbers we saw last year, Acuna is still slashing a very respectable .360/.448/.760 during spring training. In not as great news, we’ve seen his strikeouts go up considerably, not a good trend when considering the hitter-friendly stage of spring training we are currently in.
Despite the spike in strikeouts, Acuna is still flashing his patented power as evidenced by breaking a scoreboard with an absolute BOMB:
Acuna actually started spring training a little cold before starting to find his stroke. Over the past week, Acuna has taken off and has fans and analysts raving about his natural ability to hit for both average and power. With his pure offensive skillset offering Freddie Freeman much needed lineup protection. It should come as no surprise that Freeman saw essentially his base career year to date. As soon as pitchers realized there was a dangerous young threat looming behind Freeman, they were no longer able to pitch around him and willingly put him on first.
Especially with power capable of putting a baseball out of the park in a hurry, Acuna is one of the most exciting young players in the game, Check out this highlight of him hitting a frozen rope to left center that got out before the camera could track it properly:
Unfortunately for the Braves, they will be missing ace of the staff Mike Foltynewicz due to injury come opening day. The Braves staff is talented but inconsistent and the loss of Foltynewicz is something to without a doubt keep an eye on as the season gets back into swing. Despite being nominally the fourth starter, Julio Tehran has shown to be downright elite when at his best and if he can recapture that form, should be able to do wonders for the young Braves.