The Braves are off to a torrid start in 2023, winning 20 of their first 30 games and racing out to a 3.5 game lead in the NL East. A primary reason for that has been Ronald Acuña Jr., who looks to be back to the pre-injury version of himself we saw in 2019-2021 when he was arguably the best player in the National League. In fact, I would argue Acuña looks even better than he has before, which is why he was deservedly named the NL Player of the Month for April.
Congratulations to @ronaldacunajr24 on being named NL Player of the Month!#ForTheA pic.twitter.com/IqfVGAiZZW
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 3, 2023
In the first month of the season, Acuña hit .352 with four homers, a .986 OPS, and 13 steals. Those numbers have only gone up over the last couple of days as well. He’s now hitting .362 on the year with five homers and 14 steals.
Acuña’s 14 steals are three more than anyone else in baseball, which puts him on track to swipe a ridiculous 75 bags this season. Some might say that’s not sustainable, but with the new rules in place favoring baserunners, I see no reason why he will slow down. Acuña’s a lock to steal 50+ bases this season as long as he can stay healthy, and he very well could become the fifth ever member of the 40/40 club (40 homers, 40 stolen bases), joining Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano.
Soriano was the last one to do so back in 2006, and for Acuña to join him, he will have to pick up the pace a tad in the home run department. He’s currently on pace to smash 30 homers this season, but that can change quickly given the sample size. With one hot streak, Acuña could find himself on pace to hit 40 homers, something he last accomplished in 2019 when he hit 41 bombs.
Photo: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire
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