Ronald Acuna Jr. will not break camp with the Braves' big league club.
The team reassigned the phenom, MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect, to Minor League camp after Monday's 6-0 win over the Blue Jays, though Acuna did not play in the game.
In his first Spring Training in big league camp, Acuna was stellar. He led the Braves with four homers and tied for the team lead with 11 RBIs, to go with a .432/.519/.727 slash line, fulfilling -- if not exceeding -- the lofty hype he had entering camp.
The club would retain an extra year of control on the five-tool phenom if Acuna accrues less than 172 days of service time over the 187-day-capacity regular season. The heralded prospect will have to remain in the Minors until at least April 13 for the Braves to gain an extra year of contractual control.
Players cannot become eligible for free agency until after they've accrued six years of service time. The Cubs employed a similar practice in 2015 with Kris Bryant, who didn't get called up to the Majors until mid-April after an outstanding spring.
"We don't set time frames or anything like that," Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "I know a lot gets made of that. Right now, it's just go down and play and get in a routine. He's obviously looked very good. We just want him to get into the flow, keep doing what he was doing and he'll find his way back here, hopefully very soon."
Acuna, 20, signed as an international free agent in July 2014, and he has been one of the headline pieces of the club's No. 2-ranked farm system, per MLB Pipeline. Along with infielders Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley, as well as touted pitching prospects Mike Soroka, Kyle Wright and Luiz Gohara, Acuna comprises a blossoming core that the Braves hope can offer long-term sustainability. Atlanta has not reached the postseason since 2013.
"Our priority is, what's best for Ronald Acuna's development?" said Anthopoulos. "What's best for Mike Soroka's development? Ultimately, we still have a responsibility to the Braves to put the best team out on the field. But the No. 1 priority is going to be the player development of each player, because we want them when they're up here to stay up here. We want them to have long, productive and healthy careers.
When Acuna does receive his Major League callup, he has the potential to make an immediate impact for a Braves club that has potential to be a sleeper in the National League East in 2018.