The Atlanta Braves made a pair of noteworthy moves on Tuesday, activating star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. from the injured list and promoting right-hander Ian Anderson to the majors. In corresponding moves, the Braves optioned pitcher Touki Toussaint and catcher Alex Jackson to the alternate site.
Anderson, who is scheduled to make his big-league debut on Tuesday night against the New York Yankees, entered the season ranked by CBS Sports as baseball's 29th-best prospect. He's the second top prospect the Braves have promoted in the past week, joining outfielder Cristian Pache. (Pache made his debut over the weekend.)
Here's what we wrote over the offseason about Anderson:
The third pick in the 2016 draft, Ian Anderson should make his big-league debut in 2020. Anderson has the makings of a mid-rotation starter or better. He has the size, the delivery, the arsenal -- all three pitches have above-average potential. What he doesn't have is the command. Anderson has walked four batters per nine throughout his minor-league career, including 4.3 per nine in 2019. Put another way, his 11.3 percent walk rate would have tied Dakota Hudson for the highest among in the majors among qualified starters. Obviously Anderson has more bat-missing ability than Hudson, perhaps making his situation more comparable to the Robbie Rays and Luis Castillos of the league. But it's asking a lot from any pitcher to require a top-15 strikeout rate to overcome their wildness. Anderson won't turn 22 until May, so he has time to improve his command.
The Braves can only hope that Anderson's acclimation to the majors goes smoothly. Their rotation has been ravaged by injury and underperformance. Four of the five members of their Opening Day starting five are either hurt or have been optioned to the alternate site. That includes staff ace Mike Soroka, who tore his Achilles tendon during his third start.
As for Acuna, he hasn't played since Aug. 10 because of wrist inflammation. On the season, he's hit .258/.372/.515 with four home runs.
Despite the rotation woes and Acuna's recent absence, the Braves entered Tuesday in first place in the National League East with a 16-12 record. The second-place Miami Marlins are a game-and-a-half back.