We’ve been on 40/40 watch for the last month or so regarding 21-year-old phenom, Ronald Acuña Jr. The Braves superstar center-fielder blasted a leadoff home-run yesterday off of Aaron Nola, giving him 38 bombs on the season. He now needs two more home runs and six steals to join perhaps the most exclusive fraternity in sports – the 40/40 club – which only has four members to date, and Acuña would easily be the youngest.
With the power Acuña has, two home runs in the next 17 games is almost a foregone conclusion, but six steals isn’t a guarantee. That’s a little more than one steal every three games. Since the All-Star Break, when Acuña decided to start taking off at will, he has swiped 21 bags in 52 games, putting him on pace to reach the 40/40 mark, but I don’t want to leave any doubt.
Normally, it’s not about individual statistics; it’s strictly about the team, but this situation is slightly different. The Braves are 9.5 games up on the division with only a handful of games left to play, and 40/40 is no ordinary milestone. This is something only four players in the history of the game have done, and of those four players, three of them are known juicers. Now, I’m not saying they were all on steroids at the time they joined the exclusive club, but the point is Acuña has something to do only one other clean player has ever done, and the Braves should be all-in on helping him get there.
Not to mention, sending Acuña has been one of the teams greatest weapons all season. He’s only been caught eight times in 42 attempts. As a Braves fan, this is something I want to see, and everyone inside the organization should want to see it as well. The kid from Venezuela deserves it for all the energy he’s brought to this team and city – both in the clubhouse and on the field. It’s time for Brian Snitker, Eric Young, Ron Washington, or whoever makes that decision to start sending him at will once he reaches first. Everyone around the league recognizes he is special, but joining the 40/40 club at 21-years-old would put a label on just how extraordinary Acuña is.