This day in Braves history: Ronald Acuña Jr. makes highly-anticipated MLB debut

The Ronald Acuña Jr. era officially began for the Atlanta Braves on this day in 2018.

Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds
Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

On this day, April 25, in 2018, the Ronald Acuña Jr. era officially began, as the Atlanta Braves called up the top prospect to make one of the most anticipated MLB debuts in the history of the franchise.

This day in Braves history: Ronald Acuña Jr. makes anticipated MLB debut

At the time, there was likely not a prospect across the sport of baseball with more hype surrounding them than Acuña, who quickly rose through the Braves system to become the club's No. 1 prospect back in 2018 according to MLB Pipeline, as well as No. 2 overall ranking behind only Shohei Ohtani.

In 2018, Acuña would originally begin the year with Triple-A Gwinnett where he struggled at times to begin the season, posting a .564 OPS across 23 games. Even despite this slow start, Acuña would still receive the call early on that season, with his MLB debut coming April 25 in Cincinnati against the Reds.

In that contest, which the Braves would win 5-4, Acuña batted sixth for Atlanta, while also drawing the start defensively in left field. Acuña would go one-for-five in the win, and collected his first-ever MLB hit via an eighth-inning single to center where he went on to score the winning run for the Braves.

That season from Acuña would become one of the best rookie campaigns that the Atlanta Braves have ever seen, as the top prospect went on to be named the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year, slashing .293/.366/.552 with 26 HR, 64 RBI, and 16 stolen bases across 111 games.

Since, Acuña has gone on to become one of baseball's top overall players, with his seven-year MLB career so far including an MVP, four All-Star appearances, and three Silver Sluggers, among additional honors.

Across 695 career games, Acuña also holds a combined slash line of .292/.382/.532 with 162 HR, 408 RBI, and 190 SB. Acuña's best season during that span was likely his 2023 MVP-winning campaign in which he led the MLB in runs, hits, stolen bases, OBP, and total bases, while also posting a 40/70 season.

Regardless of how the remainder of his career goes as well, there is no denying that April 25, 2018, will always be one of the more memorable days in the history of the Atlanta Braves franchise.

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