Shortstop Luisangel Acuna has been promoted from high-A Hickory to AA Frisco, the Texas Rangers announced today.
Acuna, 20, spent the 2021 season at low-A Down East, and had a solid if unspectacular statistical season, slashing .266/.345/.404 with 44 steals in 55 attempts while splitting time between 2B and SS. As one of the younger players in the league, his performance was such that he was generally included in the back end of the Rangers' top 10 prospect lists this past offseason.
Acuna has taken a step forward in 2022, slashing .317/.417/.483 in 54 games for Hickory, playing mostly shortstop and going 28 for 34 on steals. He missed some time due to injury, which also was an issue in 2021, and I think there are probably some durability concerns about Acuna given his small size, but when he's been on the field he's definitely performed.
Jonathan Ornelas has gotten the bulk of the starts at shortstop this season for the Roughriders, with Ezequiel Duran getting most of the starts Ornelas hasn't made. I'm guessing Acuna and Ornelas split time between shortstop and third base, although Ornelas could get more reps in the outfield going forward.
Acuna is a hard player to get a handle on -- he's excelling at a young age for his league, but there are questions about how much growth and projection he has, particularly given his solid instincts and how relatively refined his game is. There's also some question as to whether he will stick at shortstop, or whether he will end up moving to another infield position or center field.
Frisco will be a good challenge for Acuna, as he will spend the next six weeks as one of the youngest players in the Texas League, and be able to show what he can do against the more advanced pitchers he will see in AA.