Braves prospects Acuna, Riley, Jackson fuel Fire Frogs' win

Braves prospects Acuna, Riley, Jackson fuel Fire Frogs' win

When Class A Advanced Florida has put up a lot of runs this season, it's usually had something do with the performances of either Ronald Acuna, Austin Riley or Alex Jackson.

On Friday night it was all three players who contributed, as they combined to go 8-for-14 with three extra-base hits and eight RBIs to power the Fire Frogs past Clearwater, 17-11.

Acuna, the Braves' No. 7 prospect and No. 94 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, paced the Fire Frogs' offense by going 4-for-6 with a double and three RBIs out the three-hole. The four-hit performance was the first of the 19-year-old center fielder's career and improved his season slash line to .284/.327/.451 through 25 games. Acuna has tallied nine extra-base hits, 16 RBIs and 18 runs in that span, and he ranks third in the Florida State League with 12 stolen bases.

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"With [Acuna], it's being consistent at this level," Florida hitting coach Carlos A. Mendez told MiLB.com. "Today we talked to him, watched some video and tried to keep him short -- sometimes he gets long with his stride, and when he gets long he misses fastballs he should hit. He's at that age where he thinks he needs to hit the ball really hard; we try to keep him calm and at 80 percent effort, and he can do damage at 80 percent."

Riley (No. 12), meanwhile, went 2-for-4 with his sixth home run, a three-run shot that helped fuel Florida's nine-run first inning. He's now gone deep in back-to-back games and four times in his past 10 contests.

And as for Jackson, the Braves' No. 23 prospect belted his eighth home run, also a three-run shot, to move into first place on the Florida State League leaderboard. The 21-year-old backstop is hitting .294/.342/.560 this season after finishing 2-for-4 with four RBIs and three runs.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Friday

No. 42 overall prospect Mitch Keller (Pirates' No. 3) tossed seven scoreless inning with nine strikeouts for a second straight start for Class A Advanced Bradenton. The 21-year-old right-hander induced eight ground-ball outs and allowed just two hits, throwing 59 of his 85 pitches for strikes. He's now 3-1 on the year with a 2.88 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings (six starts).

No. 45 overall prospect Riley Pint (Rockies' No. 3) scattered three hits over five scoreless frames for Class A Asheville en route to his first win of the season. The 2016 first-rounder (No. 4 overall) compiled four strikeouts against three walks and generated another six outs on the ground. For the season, Pint, 19, owns a 2.29 ERA through 19 2/3 innings in the South Atlantic League.

No. 93 overall prospect Matt Chapman (A's No. 4) hit a two-run homer in Triple-A Nashville's loss against Round Rock. The 24-year-old third baseman has gone deep three times in his past four games, during which he's gone 6-for-15 with five RBIs.

• Mariners No. 4 prospect Max Povse pitched well in a no-decision for Double-A Arkansas, allowing one earned run on three hits in five innings. The 6-foot-8 righty notched a season-high eight strikeouts while throwing 48 of his 79 pitches for strikes.

• Brewers No. 6 prospect Trent Clark connected on his third home run and finished with three RBIs in a 3-for-4 effort for Class A Advanced Carolina, though it wouldn't keep the Mudcats from falling to Frederick, 12-9. Jake Gatewood (No. 25) also had a big game, as he went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and three runs to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. He's hit .340 through 28 games and has walked as many times (18) in that span as he did over 126 games in 2016.

• Padres No. 8 prospect Eric Lauer kept Class A Modesto off the board in his second straight seven-inning start for Lake Elsinore. The 21-year-old southpaw allowed two hits and three walks and struck out seven. He's pitched to a 2.22 ERA through five starts, with 34 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.

• Cardinals No. 8 prospect Jack Flaherty matched his career high with 12 strikeouts in seven innings in another dominant performance for Double-A Springfield. He threw 99 pitches (73 strikes), also matching his season-high, in the outing, allowing one earned run on two hits and one walk. After six starts, Flaherty is the Texas League leader in wins (5-0), ERA (0.69), WHIP (0.74) and strikeouts (40).

Astros No. 16 prospect Cionel Perez recorded his first U.S. victory as Class A Quad Cities defeated Lake County, 6-2, in Midwest League action. After he was shelled in his season debut (7 ER in 2 2/3 IP), the 21-year-old lefty, whom the Astros signed for $2.2 million in December, scattered two hits in 5 2/3 scoreless frames while tallying seven strikeouts and one walk.

 

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.