The Braves came out of nowhere last season to capture the National League East crown thanks to a lot of production from the young, homegrown players that they have collected the previous 3-4 seasons. The biggest contributor amongst those players was Ronald Acuna Jr. who went from a (very) hyped prospect when he made his debut to one of the absolute best hitters in baseball during a torrid second half that culminated in him hitting a grand slam in the playoffs and ultimately capturing the National League Rookie of the Year title.
In short, there is little on a baseball field that Acuna can’t do well. In addition to being a strong defender with room for growth there, Acuna poses a strong approach at the plate and plus power and speed. Assuming he continues to adapt to how the rest of the league is now treating him, he has the ability to be among the best players in all of baseball.
The Braves obviously know what they have in Acuna and last year there were whispers that the team wanted to work out an extension but a deal did not get done last year or this past offseason. It appears things have changed and now Acuna will be a Brave until potentially 2028.
Source confirms: Acuña and #Braves agree on eight-year, $100M contract with two club options. Now under possible team control through 2028. First reported: @JeffPassan and @JonHeyman.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 2, 2019
For the Braves, this deal is a no brainer. This gives them a bunch of team control over a player that slashed .293/.366/.552 in his rookie debut in 2018 and could be poised to do even more. This also helps the team avoid the cost uncertainty that surrounds the arbitration process (top players are getting PAID in arbitration right now) and even gives them some flexibility with the two club option years at the end of the deal.
For Acuna, it is a little bit surprising that he would take this kind of deal, but we don’t really know the terms of the club options yet (the current reporting is that the option years are for $17 million per which is a steal for the Braves) and this helps him make closer to what he is worth during the beginning of his career and solidifies his financial future. It is very possible if not likely that he left some money on the table if he plays like many expect him to, but this extensions also minimizes the risk on Acuna’s end as well.