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Acuna, Braves enter spring looking to replicate 2018 success | Sports

ATLANTA — Ronald Acuna Jr. aided the Atlanta Braves accelerate their rebuilding agenda in 2018, when they have been the surprise NL East champions.

As the Braves enter their very last spring teaching at their Disney complex in Kissimmee, Florida, the next problem is to move closer to their initial World Series because 1999.

Acuna won the NL rookie of the year and positioned 12th in the MVP voting despite participating in in only 111 games as a 20-year-old still left fielder. The native of Venezuela showed all the instruments — energy, pace and protection — that make him the next confront of the franchise.

Freddie Freeman, the existing franchise player who was fourth in that MVP vote, explained he cannot wait to see what Acuna can do in a whole period.

“I really don’t know what that guy’s ceiling is,” Freeman explained very last thirty day period. “He is distinctive. … It is really going to be enjoyable to check out him enjoy each one working day. If he can remain balanced, it really is going to be huge.”

The Braves bolstered their lineup by signing third baseman Josh Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP, to a 1-year, $23 million offer. They also added veteran catcher Brian McCann, bringing him again to in which he introduced his occupation, and re-signed appropriate fielder Nick Markakis.

Below are some locations to check out for in the course of spring teaching:

A still left calf strain spoiled Donaldson’s 2018 period with Toronto and Cleveland. The Braves are gambling Donaldson, 33, returns to his peak 3-year amount of 2015-17, when he averaged 37 homers. “We weren’t wanting at third base,” explained normal manager Alex Anthopoulos. “We just preferred a massive bat with energy.” McCann replaces Kurt Suzuki in sharing time with catcher Tyler Bouquets. Donaldson pushes Johan Camargo out of third base and into a tremendous utility job. Camargo and Charlie Culberson supply superb versatility to the bench, a weak location in 2018. Substitution starters should be found for Anibal Sanchez and Brandon McCarthy, who put together for 39 commences very last period.

Correct-hander Touki Toussaint could gain a rotation location this spring. His teammates rave about his probable, which is crafted close to a curveball which promises to be his signature pitch. Left-handers Kolby Allard and Luiz Gohara and appropriate-handers Mike Soroka, Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson also will contend for starting off positions. Third baseman Austin Riley could be the motive the Braves have been interested in only a 1-year offer with Donaldson. Outfielder Cristian Pache, an remarkable defensive player, is the organization’s other top rated situation prospect.

Protection continues to be a solid level. The outfield involves 2018 Gold Glove winners Markakis and Inciarte. Acuna, who could possibly eventually move to appropriate field or heart field, also is a solid defensive player. Freeman also won a Gold Glove while finishing fourth in the MVP voting. Ozzie Albies, a achievable foreseeable future Gold Glove winner, showed astonishing energy with 24 homers and is a lock at second base.

Mike Foltynewicz emerged as an All-Star and No. 1 starter very last period, and midseason addition Kevin Gausman aided solidify the middle of the rotation. Otherwise, lots of thoughts continue being in the rotation, in particular soon after Julio Teheran was sent to the bullpen for the playoffs. Younger starters unable to go deep into games could put a hefty drain on a bullpen which has its personal thoughts. Arodys Vizcaino’s sore shoulder saved him from managing the whole-time closer’s task, while A.J. Minter battled command challenges at instances.

Braves pitchers and catchers have their initial exercise routine on Feb. 16, and the team’s initial whole-squad exercise routine is Feb. 21. They strategy to move into a new spring teaching facility in North Port, Florida, around Sarasota, in 2020 and have scheduled their closing exhibition game this spring at the new facility on March 24. The Braves open the period on March 28 at Philadelphia. Atlanta’s dwelling opener is April 1 versus the Cubs.

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