FRANCISCO ACUNA, SHORTSTOP
|Born: January 12, 2000
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2016, Pittsburgh Pirates
How Acquired: International Free Agent
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Acuna is a small shortstop who signed for a modest bonus out of Colombia. Before he ever played in the Pirates’ system, he held his own against older players as a 16-year-old in winter ball in his native country. He could ultimately need to move to second due to his arm.
Acuna didn’t hit much in his debut, but he was only 17. He drew a large number of walks — in fact, he was third in the league — and he did very well as a base stealer. He committed a dozen errors, which at that age and at that level isn’t a bad total at all.
The Pirates invited Acuna to fall instructional league and then brought him to the GCL. Ji-Hwan Bae’s signing blocked him at short and the Pirates also signed no fewer than four college NDFAs, all of them infielders. Acuna played a little over half the time, mainly at second, with a little time at short and third. He didn’t hit a great deal, with no power, and as often happens when players move up from the DSL the walks mostly went away. Surprisingly, Acuna attempted only one steal. He was very reliable in the field.
Acuna was the regular shortstop at Bristol and took a big step forward at the plate. He was clearly a great deal stronger; his listed weight of 150 is obviously no longer accurate. He hit the ball with much more authority than before and tied for the league lead in doubles. He spent most of the season well over .300, but dropped below it when he finished the season 4-for-32.
Acuna served as the utility infielder at Greensboro for the first two months of the season, then moved down to Bradenton. He drew a lot of walks and showed some doubles power, but overall didn’t hit much at either level. He played mostly short at Greensboro, when Liover Peguero was hurt, and mostly second and third at Bradenton.
Acuna spent the season with Greensboro. He played little in April and May, but in June started hitting his way into more playing time and eventually became the starter at short. He had big months in July and August, putting up OPS figures of .864 and .925, respectively. That left him with very good numbers, including power numbers, for the season. Unfortunately, it all got cut short in late August when Acuna got hit with a PED suspension.
If the Pirates bring Acuna back in 2023, he’ll miss roughly the first six weeks of the season. He has one more year before minor league free agency.
|2023: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: $70,000
MiLB Debut: 2017
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2023
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2020
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|July 2, 2016: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.