Jose Acuna was an international signing by the New York Mets in July of 2019. With the 2020 season being cancelled he had to wait until the 2021 season to make his professional debut. The Mets sent him to their complex in Florida to begin his career and he made three starts and one relief appearance that July, but those were the only games he would pitch all year.

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When the 2022 season began, the then 19-year-old had to wait until June to get things started as the Mets once again opted to have him begin the year with the complex level club in Florida. In the first month he would make four appearances – two starts and two games out of the bullpen – where he threw 16.1 innings with a 1.65 ERA, just three walks, and he struck out 25 batters.

His first two starts in July didn’t go as well, giving up six earned runs in 9.1 innings to go along with four walks. Those would be his final two starts at the complex level. The next time he took the mound was on July 17th for Single-A St. Lucie. Taking on Dunedin, Jose Acuna struck out eight batters and allowed just one run in 5.0 innings. Nine days later he took the mound again, throwing 3.0 shutout innings against Palm Beach. Two days later he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with outfielder Hector Rodriguez in a deal that sent Tyler Naquin and Phillip Diehl to the New York Mets.

Cincinnati kept Jose Acuna in Florida, sending the right-handed pitcher to Single-A Daytona. His first two starts came against his former team, the St. Lucie Mets, and Acuna was dominant. Over his 9.0 innings he allowed four hits and was charged with an unearned run while striking out 10 of his former teammates and walking no one. After a solid start against Lakeland, the righty struggled against Clearwater, who put up five runs in 4.1 innings against him. The two starts that followed saw him give up just one run in 9.2 innings. In the final start of the season he would strike out eight batters, but he also allowed four runs in just 3.1 innings against Tampa.

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Jose Acuna Scouting Report

Position: Right-handed pitcher | B/T: R/R

Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 197 lbs | Acquired: International FA 2019 (Trade 2022, Mets)

Born: October 20, 2002

Fastball | A pitch that works in the low 90’s and will touch 95 on occasion.

Slider | It works in the high 70’s to low 80’s and has some cutter tendencies to it.

Change Up | A low-80’s pitch with good sink to it, but not much movement on the horizontal plane and shows as a below-average offering.

Jose Acuna has been quite good in his professional career so far, but he’s also only thrown 72.0 innings in his two years. He’s limited hits, giving up just 42 of them, and he’s limited walks. Acuna throws strikes with all three of his pitches. The righty is noted for his ability to mix things up (both his pitches as well as his timing) with scouts liking his pitchability.

His fastball has high spin rates, which allows it to play up beyond mediocre velocity and is an average offering overall. The slider flashes average, but is currently a below-average offering. His change up is a very low-spin offering that has separation on the vertical plane from the fastball but not much at all on the horizontal plane.

There’s not a bunch of projection left for Acuna on his fastball. But if he can improve his secondary offerings a little bit as he continues to develop and find some more consistency with them he has the makings of a back of the rotation kind of starter.


Interesting Stat on Jose Acuna

He held hitters that were younger than he was to a .127/.200/.164 line on the season in 60 plate appearances. Older batters hit .187/.284/.310 against him in 197 plate appearances.

12 Responses

  1. Stock

    I like him a lot. Hopefully he will get 100 innings in this year. Acquiring Acuna and Rodriguez for Naquin was a great trade by the Reds.

  2. AMDG

    The OBP he surrendered over the season is about 90 or 100 points higher than the AVG he allowed, which seems to imply he’s giving up a lot of walks. But those seems to be driven by a few outings.

    In 4 games at A ball, he gave up 14 walks in 16 IP. Although in his other 5 games, he only gave up 1 walk over 23.1 IP.

    • MK

      That 0.93 (career) and 0.94 (2022) WHIPs kind of refute the idea that he has a lot of base runners. Those two are outstanding.

      • DaveCT

        Gotta like those WHIP numbers. He’s going to pitch the full 2023 season at age 20, so there also may be some projection left, even though he’s a big kid for his age at 6’2″ and 197 lbs. I have to think with the training available these days he might have an average velocity of 95 in him in a year or two.

    • Tom

      5 is a great number, I’ll take it. At this stage of the rebuild 5 should remain the minimum although next year it will require some additions from the draft or rebounds from past top 100 players (McClain, Williamson, Phillips, etc.)

      • Stock

        My dream for next year-end:

        Top 2 – EDLC
        Top 25 – Collier and one of Arroyo/Marte
        Top 50 – The other of Arroyo/Marte, Phillips, Petty
        Top 100 – McLain, Abbott, Hendrick, CES, Boyle and Jorge.

        I know this will never happen.

        My goal:

        Top 3 – EDLC
        Top 25 – Collier and one of Arroyo/Marte
        Top 50 – The other of Arroyo/Marte and one of (Phillips, Petty)
        Top 100 – the second of (Phillips, Petty) and 2 of (McLain, Abbott, Hendrick, CES, Boyle, Jorge or anyone else).

        It may sound unrealistic but I could see 8-10 top 100 prospects next year.

        EDLC, Collier, Marte and Arroyo will be top 100 prospects next year unless injury or graduation.

        Phillips has been borderline this year and should be securely in the top 100 in 12 months.

        I think Petty will explode this year. I see him doing very well in AA by September.

        I think McLain moves back into top 100 lists.

        Hendrick has a chance to move up a lot this year. If he can match the last 5 weeks over the next 7 months he should be a top 100 prospect.

        With solid seasons CES and Abbott could move to the bottom of the top 100.

        If Boyle improves his command he would be a lock for a top 100 spot.

        Jorge, Cabrera and others are a long shot for the top 100.

        The Reds could draft a player who jumps into the top 100.

      • Optimist

        Doug has commented often, and on the other site today, that the rankings can be deceptive – namely the top 10 are likely stars in the making, but there’s not a huge difference going from, say, 15 to 50, or 50 to 150.

        In other words, if the Reds get 10-15 in the top 150-200 that’s a very good sign of a fuller system. If they get 2 in the top 20 and any sort of depth beyond that, it’s an excellent system. They may be close to both.

  3. MBS

    @Doug, I was wondering if it was an omission, but I didn’t see you rate any of his pitches like you typically do, or was that code that they are all average?

    • Doug Gray

      I could have done a better job there. I’ll go in and edit a little bit. I think the fastball is average given the lower velo (in today’s game at least) but with the movement/deception. The slider is below-average but could improve with more consistency because you will see it as a solid-average pitch at times. The change up is below-average.

      • MBS

        Thanks for the insight. He was putting up some good numbers last year.

      • RedsGettingBetter

        I think Acuña has pitched in a very smart way since he has two out of three pitches as below average but despite this , he performed very well, at least in a small sample size. Let’s see him in a 100 plus innings season playing at higher levels maybe High-A and AA.