Braves expecting a “real big year” from Ronald Acuna Jr.

Braves: Ronald Acuña All Star Selection 2022

By most players’ standards, Ronald Acuna Jr.‘s 2022 campaign was a career year, but it was underwhelming for a superstar of his caliber. In 2021, the Braves phenom was playing at an MVP-level before his injury. Acuna had a .990 OPS, 52 RBIs, and 24 home runs in about half of the season while positively affecting games on the bases and in the field.

However, an ACL injury and the unusual offseason hampered his 2022 showing. Acuna slashed .266/.351/.413 with 20 home runs on a 162-game pace, good for a .764 OPS. He was also caught stealing more times than in any other season, leading the league in that metric. Those would still be more than acceptable numbers without the name, but because he’s Ronald Acuna Jr., people were left feeling empty.

Now, he’ll have a fully healthy offseason under his belt and likely no restrictions entering 2023. If his production is anything close to what he’s doing in the Venezuelan league, Acuna will challenge for NL MVP honors. In nine games and 31 at-bats, he’s posted a 1.192 OPS. And at least one member of the Braves organization believes that’s exactly what he’s going to do next season.

Over his first four seasons, the ultra-talented Acuna slashed .281/.376/.550 with 43 homers on a 162-game pace with a .925 OPS. Brian Snitker believes his 2023 will be closer to his first four seasons than what we saw last year, and there’s no reason to think otherwise.

As we get further and further away from his surgery, we get closer to the pre-injury Ronald Acuna. I imagine he’ll be foaming at the mouth to get back on the field for the Braves after a disappointing end to the 2022 season, losing in the NLDS to the Phillies, a series in which Acuna was one of the few productive Braves players.

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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