Ozzie Albies, all of 21 years and 114 days old, stepped up for the Braves to open the series against the Mets Tuesday night at Citi Field and slashed a single into left. Ronald Acuña Jr., all of 20 years and 134 days old, stepped up next and ripped a double down the leftfield line.
A three-run first was in motion against Noah Syndergaard.
The future has arrived for Atlanta. These two very promising players brought their act to Queens on a night when Atlanta had brought up Canadian righthander Mike Soroka, all of 20 years and 270 days old and a top-30 prospect in the game, from Triple-A to make his major-league debut.
So one-third of the starting nine included the three youngest players in the majors.
“It just says that the organization is going in the right direction,” manager Brian Snitker said.
Soroka fired six innings of one-run, six-hit work, Acuña went 2-for-5 and Albies had the one hit and one great diving stop in the Braves’ 3-2 win.
“They’ve both taken off,” Soroka said. “It’s just following suit.”
Atlanta stands second in the NL East at 17-11, now one-half game behind the Mets. Are the Braves actually a contender or still rebuilding and just flashing some coming attractions?
“We’ll find that out as we play the schedule out,” Snitker said. “I can say it’s a lot of fun when you have those young guys and put them in the lineup and watch them play. They’re very confident, talented young guys.”
Acuña is a leftfielder from Venezuela. His dad was a minor-league outfielder for the Mets and two other organizations.
“He’s very proud to have his first son in the big leagues,” the younger Acuña said. “There’s three more, so we’re hoping to have four in the big leagues altogether.”
The first son arrived from Triple-A with his five tools last Wednesday. The 6-foot righty hitter is batting .417 (10-for-24) with one homer and four RBIs through six games.
He began 2018 as MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 prospect after batting .325 with 21 homers, 82 RBIs and 44 steals over three levels and being named Minor League Player of the Year last season by Baseball America and USA Today.
“I always believed in my talent and my skills,” Acuña said via an interpreter. “I’ve never really felt any pressure, to be honest. When I signed, I wasn’t really considered a highly regarded prospect.”
Albies is a second baseman from Curaçao. He began last year as the No. 9 overall prospect before debuting in August and batting .286 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 57 games. Now he’s batting .289 with nine homers (which tied him for the NL lead entering Tuesday night) and 20 RBIs in 28 games.
The switch hitter set the franchise record for the most extra-base hits through April with 22 — tied for second in MLB history.
The thing is, he’s just 5-8.
“I don’t think height matters,” Albies said.
He signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2013. Acuña did the same in 2014.
“We’re like a brother to each other,” Albies said.
So he has tried to advise Acuña in his transition to the big leagues.
“It’s been incredible, a dream come true,” Acuña said. “And to have him here is incredible even more.”