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Ronald Acuña hit leadoff homers in both games of doubleheader vs. Marlins

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How hot is Ronald Acuña? He’s so hot he hit leadoff home runs in both games of Monday’s doubleheader against the Marlins.

In the first game this afternoon, Acuña led off by working the count 3-1 before drilling a 93 MPH fastball from Pedro López to give the Braves an early 1-0 lead. The Braves would go on to win 9-1. Acuña finished 2-for-3 with two walks, a double, three RBI, and three runs scored along with the homer.

In game two, Acuña jumped on a first-pitch 93 MPH fastball from Merandy Gonzalez to once again put the Braves up by one early.

According to David O’Brien of The Athletic, Acuña is the first player to hit leadoff home runs in both games of a doubleheader since the Orioles’ Brady Anderson on August 21, 1999 against the White Sox.

After his second homer, Acuña carries a .278/.339/.553 batting line along with 17 homers, 38 RBI, and 46 runs scored in 280 plate appearances this season. Juan Soto and Dereck Rodriguez are the frontrunners for the NL Rookie of the Year Award, but Acuña is certainly rising the ranks and could make things interesting by the end of the season.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.