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Braves reinstate Ronald Acuña Jr., DFA Alex Dickerson

The phenom returns to Atlanta.

MLB: NOV 05 Atlanta Braves World Series Championship Parade and Celebration Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The wait is over. You’ve had enough. The Braves have apparently had enough. Ronald Acuña Jr. is back.

The Braves have scuffled out of the gate, while Ronald Acuña Jr. tore up Triple-A Gwinnett (165 wRC+) on his rehab assignment, There was a lot of griping that given his all-out play on his rehab assignment, such as scoring from second on an infield hit, that the Braves could use Acuña in the lineup and in the field, and apparently at this point, the Braves agree. The phenom is projected to be one of the best players in baseball and already has 16.2 fWAR in under 1,800 career PAs.

On the flip side of the move, the Braves have designated Alex Dickerson for assignment. Dickerson was signed to a non-guaranteed deal that paid him $1 million if he made the roster out of Spring Training, which he did. Dickerson started his 2022 with an annoying 20 wRC+ and -0.4 fWAR in 36 PAs, but has a fine .322 xwOBA. In other words, he’s underperformed his offensive inputs by a ton, with the eighth-biggest such gap in the majors to date. It’s not entirely clear why the Braves have made this move rather than optioning a reliever, but they went this route rather than optioning Travis Demeritte. It’s possible that given Dickerson’s inability to play the field and the fact that both Orlando Arcia and Marcell Ozuna have had serious defensive issues in a small sample so far has forced the Braves’ hand in not being able to carry yet another defensively-problematic player, and Dickerson had the smallest guarantee among the trio, but Dickerson’s xwOBA and career 110 wRC+ make it kind of a shame.

Still, the kid is back, and maybe the Braves can actually get rolling now — though the big disappointments to date have been in the results rather than anything else, as the Braves will come into Thursday’s game with the fourth-best xwOBA in baseball, and the 11th-best xwOBA allowed.