Braves: Ronald Acuña Jr. on pace for history

Ronald Acuña

Everybody around the Braves organization expected Ronald Acuña Jr. to look much different in 2023 now that he was over a year removed from tearing his ACL, but nobody could have predicted this…

Acuña has been the best player in baseball through the first 43 games.

  • 1.050 OPS (1st)
  • .345 batting average (2nd)
  • 11 home runs (8th)
  • 40 runs (1st)
  • .437 on-base percentage (1st)
  • .613 slugging percentage (2nd)

His Baseball Savant page tells a similar picture.

  • 100th percentile xBA
  • 100th percentile xSLG
  • 100th percentile xwOBA
  • 99th percentile Average Exit Velocity
  • 99th percentile Max Exit Velocity
  • 100th percentile Arm Strength
  • 96th percentile Hard Hit %

Acuña is on pace to do something that’s never been done in the history of baseball. After starting out a little sluggish in the home run department, he has picked it up in a big way, hitting seven homers in his last 16 games, including four in the last four games. Acuña now has 11 homers on the season, putting him on pace to hit 41.

40 steals should be a breeze. In fact, 50 is more likely, and he might even get 60. Acuña stole another bag Wednesday night, giving him 18 on the season. That puts him on pace to steal nearly 70 bases. That’s absurd, but when watching him every night, it almost looks effortless.

Health providing, Acuña is going to easily steal 50 bases, if not 60 or 70, which puts him in historic territory. Not only will he have a chance to become one of five players to ever record 40 homers and 40 steals in a single season, but he has a real opportunity to become the first ever 40/50 or 40/60 player. I’m not even completely sure 50/50 or 50/60 is out of the realm of possibility.

Logic would tell us that he will eventually slow down, but a player like Ronald Acuña Jr. can’t be explained logically. He is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before in the game of baseball. He’s hitting the ball harder and striking out less than ever before. If there’s a drop-off, it will be minimal. We are potentially in the middle of one of the most spectacular individual seasons of all time.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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