Ronald Akuna Jr. is back. The Braves announced this morning that they have brought their star off their 10-day casualty list – the culmination of a nine-and-a-half-month rehabilitation process after rupturing his ACL last July. It’s a bit surprising, like the brave He was aiming for a May 6 comeback According to director Brian Snitker, although Snitker admitted at the time of that statement that the date was not set in stone. In a corresponding list move, Atlanta named an outside player Alex Dickerson for commissioning.
One of the most dynamic talents in the game, 24-year-old Acuna has been instrumental from the moment he reached the Majors when he was 21-years-old in 2018. Almost two weeks after the original MLB promotion began, Acuna went in utter tears and finished campaign ’18 as the near-unanimous winner of the year, with 27 out of 30 first-place votes (with two wins Juan Soto And one goes to Walker Buhler).
Acuna hit 26 homers and slammed base 16 as a novice, coming in at .293/.366/.552 along the way. He’s maintained that pace in the three seasons since, coming off the injured list and looking to build on his career-hitting streak. Say nothing more than 78 doubles, sevens, and 78 steals).
While some fans may be wary of Acuna’s return to the major leagues, he certainly hasn’t shown any rust in his limited work with Triple-A Gwinnett yet. It’s only six games and 25 games on the board, but Akuna is a 7-for-19 with two doubles, six walks and three stolen bases (in three attempts), which definitely paints the picture of someone with a knee injury solid behind him. Given that the Braves Yard is producing—or, rather, failing to produce—at an alarming level, the Atlanta brass has chosen to take a proactive step to inject some life into crime.
Marcel Ozuna He made a good start in the left field, registering .257/.291/.486 with four home blocks and five year doubles. It’s a bit light in the OBP department, but the power output generally made up for the Ozuna’s lack of walking. However, the rest of the outer Atlanta region was a disaster. Adam Duval It hits .197/ .250/ .258 in 72 plate appearances. Eddie Rosario He hit .068/.163/.091 at 49 plaque appearances before undergoing an eye operation that would sideline him for up to 12 weeks. Guillermo Heredia He hit .158/.273/.368 in 22 plate appearances. The Braves got some production in small samples from player-turned-helper Orlando Archia The former is likely Travis DemeritHowever, the current set was clearly not enough for a team with designs to defend the World Championship.
Dickerson, at whose expense Akuna will return, was also a notable culprit when it came to the Braves’ lack of attack in general. Signed in late spring to a one-year deal, he was primarily used as a designated hitter against right-handed shooters but went 4 for 33 with only one extra base hit (Homer) while hitting a quarterback on his 36-board.
The 31-year-old was generally a productive hitter in his league career when he was otherwise healthy, although this health warning loomed large. Dickerson was absent throughout the 2017-18 seasons thanks to Tommy John’s surgery and back surgery, and he’s spent quite a bit of time on the hit list even during his active seasons. Back in the 2019 campaign, he was sent to the casualty list with injuries to the wrist, shoulder, oblique, hamstring and back.
Dickerson was a discovery for the Giants in the 2019-20 season after moving from San Diego to San Francisco in exchange for the top player in the league. Franklin van Gorbe. In 341 board appearances with the Giants during these two seasons, he made .294/.361/.552 clips, mashed 16 home runs, 23 doubles and fours while walking with an 8.5% steel clip and hitting in 19.1% of his board appearances (slightly south of league average). However, Dickerson’s season in 2021 included three spells for the Inter Milan due to a shoulder strain, a back strain and a hamstring strain. He posted a .304/.420 slash drop last season and has yet to patch the ship yet in 2022.
The Braves will have a week to trade Dickerson, put him into outright concessions, or release him. Given his track record and an affordable $1 million salary on his 2022 contract, another team is likely to take a look. However, it is equally plausible, if not more reasonable, for teams to simply wait for Dickerson to clear the waivers and hope to sign him as a free agent. Since he has more than five years of MLB service time, Dickerson can decline an assignment to minors when waivers are removed while keeping his salary.
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