Tuesday, April 2, 2019
ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves today agreed to terms with OF Ronald Acuña Jr. on an eight-year contract extension through 2026 worth $100 million, with club options for the 2027 and 2028 seasons. The deal begins this season and is the largest in history for a player with as little major league service time as Acuña Jr., who has accrued just 165 days at the time of the extension. The contract is also the second largest in franchise history, trailing just the eight-year, $135 million deal signed by Freddie Freeman in 2014.
Acuña Jr., 21, has started each of Atlanta’s four games this season and is 3-for-14 with a home run. The home run was his 20th since the 2018 All-Star Break, and he is one of four players in baseball to reach that mark (Khris Davis, Christian Yelich and Rhys Hoskins).
He was named the 2018 National League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year in 2018 after hitting .293 (127-for-433) with a team-high 26 home runs, a .917 OPS and 16 steals in 111 games. Acuña Jr. became one of five players in baseball history to reach 26 home runs in a season prior to his 21st birthday and is the 10th player in history to have 25 home runs and 15 steals in his rookie season and the first since Mike Trout in 2012.
The 6-foot-0, 205-pound native of La Guaira, Venezuela, appeared in all 68 games for the Braves after the All-Star break last season, and hit .322 (85-for-264) with 19 home runs, 54 runs scored, a .403 on-base percentage and a .625 slugging percentage. His 85 hits were the second most among all players in the majors post-break, while his 54 runs tied for the second most and his 19 home runs were tied for fourth most. His 1.028 OPS was the fifth highest.
Originally signed by the Braves as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2014, Acuna Jr. is a career .291/.366/.548 hitter over 115 major league games. He was named the 2017 Minor League Player of the Year by both Baseball America and the USA Today, and was named by MLB.com as the No. 2 overall prospect in baseball entering last season.