Why the best is yet to come for Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr.

MLB: JUN 30 Marlins at Braves

Ronald Acuna Jr. is the most talented player in Braves history, which is saying something for a franchise that features the real home run king — Hank Aaron — as well as some of the most prominent pitchers the game has ever seen — Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine. Sure, he might not be the most accomplished, but he’s the most physically talented.

He’s the runaway favorite to take home the NL MVP, thanks to his historic season. He leads the MLB in more than a handful of metrics —  runs (82), stolen bases (43), OPS (1.007), OPS+ (167), and total bases (219).

RAJ ranks second in baseball in wRC+ (169), second in average (.333), and second in slugging (.593). There hasn’t been a better offensive player than the Venezuelan superstar, accruing 5.3 fWAR in just over half of a season. He’s a freak, and nobody sees it more than his teammates.

“You should see him in the gym,” said Spencer Strider, via The Athletic.

“We have this jump-measuring thing,” Ozzie Albies added, “and the top one I did was 5-foot-8 and he does like 6-8 and tells me that wasn’t even a full jump. Like, wait a minute.”

“Oh yeah,” Matt Olson continued. “He’s floating up there for a lot longer than I’m off the ground.”

Not only is he expected to join the 40/40 club, but he’s also set to establish some records of his own — 30/60, 40/60, 40/70, or even 40/75. It will be one of the best seasons in baseball history.

What’s crazier? The best is yet to come for the Ronald Acuna Jr.

He’s heralded for his athletic ability, but he’s only 25 years old. He will physically develop even more as he just enters his prime, but that’s not why I say we haven’t even seen the best yet. It’s the mental side of the game.

You can see the game slowing down for Acuna; no evidence is stronger than his strikeout rate. Across his first five seasons, Acuna was striking out more than 25% of the time, peaking in 2020 at nearly 30%. Now, the phenom has cut that figure in half, striking out only 12% of the time. It’s clear his approach has changed.

As he continues to understand how pitchers are attacking him and the other nuances of the game, Ronald Acuna will continue to do things we’ve never seen before. Like I say, he’s your favorite player’s favorite player.

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: