Braves: Don’t expect Ronald Acuña to move from the leadoff spot anytime soon

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One of the under the radar comments from this past weekend’s Chop Fest was regarding Ronald Acuña and where he will bat in the order this upcoming season. Remember last year; the Braves placed their 21-year-old phenom in the cleanup spot for nearly 40 games before moving him back to the leadoff role, where he thrived as a rookie. Josh Donaldson began protecting Freddie Freeman, and immediately, the Braves went from looking like an average ball club to one of the best teams in baseball.

Snitker commented on whether he would ever experiment with Acuña as the cleanup hitter again, and let’s just say, don’t expect to see it anytime soon.

Now, since Ozuna is officially a Brave, this is a moot point. Ideally, I think Acuña is a marvelous option to hit leadoff, and he’s comfortable there. However, if you follow this blog, you also are well aware that the myth of Ronald Acuña being miles better when batting first is just that – a myth. I’ve written these numbers almost 20 times, but I will write them one final time before this conversation ceases to exist:


Batting 4th: (36 games) .278/.373/.481 with 7 homers and 21 RBIs

Batting 1st: (118 games) .280/.364/.528 with 34 homers and 78 RBIs


It’s also worth noting Acuña’s numbers in the first inning, where he is slashing .196/.237/.438 when leading off games. So this idea that he was a tone-setter last season isn’t true; the only difference was the Braves were winning games, which a dozen other factors attribute to.

I’m all for Acuña hitting leadoff with Ozuna on board, but if Snitker wouldn’t have sat back and thought about moving Acuña around to protect Freddie Freeman without Ozuna on the roster, that’s just poor management. 36 games is way too small of a sample size to draw the conclusion that he could not succeed batting cleanup, and the numbers suggest the difference last year was almost non-existent. But since I’m not the manager (and there’s probably a good reason for that), don’t expect to see Acuña hit anywhere other than first anytime soon.

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