Braves recall phenom Ronald Acuna Jr.

Rookie outfielder Ronald Acuna will join the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday in Cincinnati.

He was in the starting lineup against the Reds, playing in left field and batting sixth for the Braves.

Acuna, 20, opened the season at Triple-A Gwinnett and is regarded as the top prospect in baseball.

He appeared ready for the big leagues in spring training with a .432 average and four home runs with four stolen bases in 16 games.

"We feel like it would probably be best overall, from a philosophical standpoint, to give him more development time," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said when the team announced Acuna would begin the season at Triple-A. "There's no manual on how to handle a player's development. They're not all the same."

At the time of the demotion to Gwinnett on March 19, Acuna was second in the majors in on-base percentage (.519) and slugging percentage (.727).

Acuna and 21-year-old second baseman Ozzie Albies are the two youngest players on MLB rosters as of April 25.

Acuna jumped three levels in the minors in 2017, going from Class A to Gwinnett with a batting average of .325 and 21 home runs along the way. He hit .344 with nine homers in 54 Triple-A games.

"Having more development time ... no one's ever been hurt by that," Anthopolous said.

The Braves opting not to keep Acuna on the 25-man roster to begin the season also delayed his eligibility for free agency until 2024. Delaying a prospect's arrival by at least 15 days buys a team an extra season of arbitration.

--Field Level Media