The wait is over. You’ve had enough. The Braves have apparently had enough. Ronald Acuña Jr. is back.
The #Braves today returned OF Ronald Acuña Jr. from his rehabilitation assignment and reinstated him from the 10-day injured list. To make room on the active roster, the club designated OF Alex Dickerson for assignment.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 28, 2022
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.