Braves 2023 FanGraphs Projections By Position: Right Field

Ronald Acuña

The Braves’ 2023 roster is just about set. Alex Anthopoulos might make a few more minor tweaks, but the bones of the roster will remain the same for the better part of the next decade because of the long-term extensions handed out over the past few years. This is the perfect time to look at FanGraphs‘ projections for the 2023 season, continuing my series and moving to right field and Ronald Acuna Jr. Below are the previous parts of the series:

Right Field

The 2022 campaign wasn’t a memorable one for Ronald Acuna Jr. and the Braves, but his down-years are some players’ career years. The Venezuelan superstar slashed .266/.351/.413 with 15 bombs and 24 doubles in his first season back after tearing his ACL, which undoubtedly affected his season.

His .764 OPS was the lowest of his career by a large margin. Prior to the injury, his average OPS was .925 per season, with the next lowest coming in 2019 at .883,  more than a 100 point difference from 2022. He was also caught stealing more times than ever, leading the league in that metric. However, his underlying metrics — 92nd percentile in hard-hit percentage and expected slugging percentage — suggest he’s still that dude. And everyone, including members of the Braves organization, expects Acuna to be closer to his pre-injury self in 2023.

If he’s anything close to the 2021 version of himself, Acuna will be in the MVP conversation. In about half a season that year, Acuna had a .990 OPS, 52 RBIs, and 24 home runs. In his first four seasons, he slashed .281/.376/.550 and flirted with 40 home runs and 40 stolen bags in 2019. When healthy, he’s arguably the most impactful player in baseball. believes he’ll fully regain his form in 2023 with an MVP-caliber campaign next season. And FanGraphs projects a .270/.367/.487 slash line with 31 homers and 34 steals, good for 5.4 WAR, which would be more than double what he contributed in 2022. What’s even crazier is a 5.4 WAR season isn’t even close to Acuna’s ceiling. He was on pace for an 8+ WAR season in 2021 before the injury. Nobody should be surprised if he eclipses FanGraphs’ projections for the Braves this season.

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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