Ronald Acuña, Atlanta Braves
Getting an opportunity for a payday like Machado and Harper is more feasible if you can make it to the majors earlier than most. That (plus elite-level production) is a big reason why guys like Soto and Acuña are on this list — they’re currently expected to hit free agency as they approach their physical prime.
Talk about scary.
The reigning NL Rookie of the Year needed just 487 plate appearances to club 26 homers, along with posting a 143 wRC+ and 3.7 fWAR. It was all about that second half, too. Acuña slashed .249/.304/.438 with a 98 wRC+ prior to the All-Star Game. After the midsummer classic, those numbers increased dramatically to .322/.403/.625 and 171, respectively.
It’ll be interesting to watch how opposing pitchers attack Acuña when he’s in the batter’s box since he pummeled four-seamers in ’18. It was by far the most common pitch he saw, and the young outfielder posted a 201 wRC+, 1.113 OPS, and .395 ISO against it. He collected 15 of his 26 dingers off this one offering.
Like with Soto, it’s all about progression for Acuña. As long as the arrow continues point up, the sky is truly the limit for his potential…and his wallet.
About Matt Musico
Matt Musico currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book and created an online class about how to get started as a sports blogger. You can sign up for his email newsletter here.