Monday, April 15 2024

Monday was a benchmark day for Mets infield prospect Luisangel Acuña.

The 21-year-old got his first start in a Mets uniform this spring, playing second base alongside star shortstop Francisco Lindor. Like we’ve seen many times this spring, Lindor has taken to a mentorship role and has done so with Acuña.

Both players have their lockers next to each other and Acuña spoke about all the advice Lindor has imparted on him so far.

“I’ve been talking to Lindor for a couple of days,” Acuña said through an interpreter. “He was talking to me to be on the fastball and that’s what I did today. I executed today.”

Acuña certainly executed on Monday. He picked up two hits, both singles, in the Mets’ 6-3 win over the Washington Nationals, and is now 2-for-5 in two games this spring.

Acuña, who was acquired by the Mets in the Max Scherzer trade with the Rangers at the deadline last season, does not have a lot of experience playing second. In parts of four seasons in the minors, Acuna has 94 starts at second as opposed to 222 at shortstop.

The transition is still a work in progress, but with a Gold Glove-winning shortstop playing next to you, there’s a lot he can pick up.

“The communication from pitch to pitch… the conversations in between innings… having him right next to him is important,” manager Carlos Mendoza said of playing Acuña next to Lindor after Monday’s win. “Coming from a guy like Lindor is important.”

“I’m happy to play with [Lindor] up the middle and he’s giving good advice,” Acuña said. “I’m happy that I’m going to learn a lot from him.”

Acuña says that the best piece of advice Lindor has given him is to stick with your routine daily, but to always remember to slow things down, whether it’s on the field or at the plate.

“As a young player you want to do things quick, but it’s all about making adjustments,” Acuña explained. “Talking with Lindor and being reminded to slow down the game, that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Acuña will likely start the 2024 season in Triple-A Syracuse, but with Lindor being the Mets shortstop long-term, the best way for the Venezuelan native to break into the majors is by changing positions.

That’s what he’s learning to do this spring. In his first spring training game with the Mets, he replaced Lindor at shortstop, but Monday was his first taste starting at second alongside the veteran infielder.

After Monday’s game, Acuña sees himself as a major league second baseman.

“I feel comfortable at second base,” he said. “I know I played most of my career at shortstop but I feel very very comfortable at second base.”

Source: Yahoo Sports

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