There are few positions on the roster that the Braves don’t have an elite player at, evident in the team’s overwhelming presence on MLB Network’s Top 10 lists. Austin Riley was the 3rd ranked third baseman, Matt Olson just missed out on top 5 honors, and Michael Harris went from prospect to a top 5 center fielder in one year. There are plenty more coming, and Ronald Acuna Jr. is up next
1. Aaron Judge, NYY (Last year: 4)
2. Mookie Betts, LAD (5)
3. Bryce Harper, PHI (2)
4. Kyle Tucker, HOU (6)
5. Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL (3)
6. George Springer, TOR (No. 2 CF)
7. Starling Marte, NYM (No. 6 CF)
8. Teoscar Hernández, SEA (8)
9. Fernando Tatis Jr., SD (No. 1 SS)
10. Hunter Renfroe, LAA (NR)
On any given season, Ronald Acuna will be in the mix with the top names here — Aaron Judge, Mookie Betts, and Bryce Harper. Unfortunately, the 2022 version of Acuna wasn’t what baseball fans had become used to.
It was by far the worst season of his career and a far cry from his career averages, let alone his best years. In his first year back from his ACL injury, Acuna hit 15 home runs and 24 doubles with a .266/.351/.413 slash line. Those are impressive numbers for most MLB players, but they aren’t close to what Acuna is capable of when healthy.
In 2019, Ronald Acuna flirted with 40 home runs and 40 stolen bags with a .281/.376/.550 slash line. More recently, his 2021 campaign was on pace to be his best season yet. In about half of a season, Acuna posted a .990 OPS, 52 RBIs, 24 home runs, and over 4 WAR. He was well on his way to running away with the NL MVP.
Acuna’s .764 OPS from last year was the lowest of his career by a large margin. I don’t really have an issue with his placement in MLB Network’s rankings, seeing he is coming off a disappointing season. But I imagine he’ll be back in the conversation as a top-three right fielder following the 2023 season.
Ronald Acuna says he’s feeling like his MVP self again, Members of the Braves organization expect great things, and MLB.com has predicted he’ll take home the MVP award. Everyone is eager to see a healthy Ronald Acuna Jr. again.