This is a pretty subjective argument, but hey, it’s the offseason, and Ronald Acuña has his sights on much bigger things in 2020 — like becoming the first-ever member of the 50/50 club (50 home runs and 50 steals). It sounds far-fetched, but in less than two full seasons, I’ve learned Acuña is a player that should never be doubted.
Below are 5 of the best seasons by a Braves’ position player in franchise history (in my opinion), and Ronald Acuña Jr.’s 2019 belongs in this rarified air. However, was it the best season ever?
2005 Andruw Jones
Andruw has had better all-around seasons, but 51 homers is an impressive feat. Those 51 bombs led the MLB, and his 128 RBIs led the NL. As terrific of a season as this was, Jones stopped stealing bases around this time and only hit .263 with a .922 OPS. He did, however, bring home a gold glove — per usual.
1999 Chipper Jones
You could argue Chipper’s 2008 season in which he led the majors with a .364 average, and .470 OBP was more impressive, but I’ll stick with his MVP season. Chipper won a Silver Slugger while slashing .319/.441/.633/1.074 with 45 HR, 25 SB, 110 RBI, and 126 BB.
1959 Hank Aaron
This actually *isn’t* Aaron’s MVP season, but I had to take 1959 over 1957. Not only did he win a Gold Glove, but he also led the league in BA (.355), SLG (.636), OPS (1.037), TB (400), and Hits (223). Plus, he was his usual Hammerin’ Hank self — notching 39 bombs. That’s going to be challenging to beat.
1983 Dale Murphy
Murph’s stretch from 1982-1987 was unbelievable, bringing home 4 silver sluggers, 5 gold gloves, and making the all-star game every season. Sticking with 1983, he led the NL in RBI (121), SLG (.540), and OPS (.933). Though, the OPS is actually pretty low for NL leading. Murph never received the HOF love he deserves, but his peak was special.
1991 Terry Pendleton
A dark horse on this list, Pendleton’s MVP season deserves to be mentioned. He led the NL in hits and total bases (he actually had more hits the next season), batting .319 with 187 hits and 22 HRs.
2019 Ronald Acuña Jr
Ronald narrowly missed out on becoming the 5th member — and easily the youngest — of the 40/40 club. As amazing as that is, I don’t think it stacks up to Chipper Jones or Hank Aaron’s campaigns. Ronald led the NL in runs and steals while mashing 41 bombs and finishing 5th (a joke) in MVP voting. He only hit .280 with a .883 OPS, but he still provided us with some of the most electric moments in Atlanta Braves’ history. I can safely say this is nowhere near his peak, however, and one of these years, he’s going to make this look like a down season.