Braves: Ronald Acuña and his race for MVP

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Ronald Acuña is sprinting in the MVP race, and honestly, he has a chance to blow past the competition a hair before the finish line. Now before you start telling me how it is impossible because Bellinger and Yelich are too far ahead to be caught, let’s take a deep dive into the statistics. The more you read about the three; the more the gap seems to close.

The Beginner Level Statistics

Ronald Acuña Jr.

AVGHRRBISBCSBB
.298358428655

 

Cody Bellinger

AVGHRRBISBCSBB
.317409310572

 

Christian Yelich

AVGHRRBISBCSBB
.329398523260

 

Yelich and Bellinger do have higher batting averages, but batting average isn’t going to win the MVP award. Since the All-Star break, Ronald is racking up XBHs and HRs at a higher rate than I consume Chic-Fil-A, especially since they added mac and cheese to their menu, allowing him to drive in plenty of runs even though he is batting in the leadoff spot. And recently Atlanta’s 21-year-old superstar has added stealing bases at will to his repertoire. He leads the majors with a whopping 28 steals and has only been caught six times. Acuña is well on his way to joining the 30/30 club and has a chance to join perhaps the most exclusive fraternity in all of sports – the 40/40 club. Only four players in baseball’s extensive history have achieved the feat, and Acuña would easily be the youngest to do so.

The Intermediate Level Statistics

Ronald Acuña Jr.

OBPSLGOPS
.378.544.922

 

Cody Bellinger

OBPSLGOPS
.416.6641.080

 

Christian Yelich

OBPSLGOPS
.420.6901.111

 

This is where we start to see separation between the front runners and Ronald (the gap is closing, but one still exists nonetheless). Yelich and Bellinger have been smacking the ball. The superstars out of Milwaukee and Los Angeles are producing extra-base hits more, and they also tend to walk more – along with their higher averages. While Acuña doesn’t have an OPS of over 1.000, his .922 remains elite and has been skyrocketing upwards this month. The season totals may be affected by the insane starts of both Yelich and Bellinger, but Acuña has plenty of time to make a run if he stays anywhere near this hot.

The Advanced Level Statistics

Ronald Acuña Jr.

WARoWARdWARPwrSpd
5.34.40.931.1

 

Cody Bellinger

WARoWARdWARPwrSpd
7.85.61.716.0

 

Christian Yelich

WARoWARdWARPwrSpd
5.85.8-0.328.9

 

Ronald is right in the middle of the three in terms of his dWAR (which measures how many wins he is contributing defensively), and the versatility that allows him to play any position in the outfield is also a plus. dWar may give Bellinger a slight edge, but I would argue Acuña has the better glove than both (at least according to the eye test), especially of late. The balance of speed and power (a stat measured by PwrSpd) is something that makes #13 stand out. His gorgeous, effortless swing combined with his grace around the base path helps Jr. lead the league in this measurement.

Over the Last 15 Games

Ronald Acuña

AVGOBPHRRBISB
.358.40310204

Cody Bellinger

AVGOBPHRRBISB
.232.3066141

Christian Yelich

AVGOBPHRRBISB
.286.308490

 

Yelich and Bellinger have not been able to keep up the astronomical pace they set in the season’s first half. Meanwhile, Ronald is speeding up when it matters, and on pace for some gaudy numbers if this continues. A cool-down is expected at some point, we’ve seen him go on extended hot streaks like this before. From August 8th of 2018 to the end of the season (51 games), he hit .330 with a .413 OBP and 1.048 OPS, and I think he’s a much more powerful and complete hitter than he was a year ago. Acuña is obviously not the favorite, but if he keeps this up for another few weeks, it is going to be difficult not to mention him as one of the clear frontrunners in September. Yelich and Bellinger are both putting up absurd numbers, but Acuña has been the better player for some time now. It’s time to starting taking his MVP resumé seriously. There’s a chance he finishes with 50 home runs and 40 stolen bases, something that has never been done in the history of the game. If Acuña does that, how do you keep the trophy out of his hands?

Acuña Matata Cool-Dri T-Shirt

 

 

 

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