We are truly blessed to witness Ronald Acuña Jr. play baseball on an every night basis. And that’s no exaggeration. Just to start off, did you know the Venezuelan superstar has recorded more stolen bases in 2023 than three different franchises?
Stolen Bases in 2023 season as of Friday, August 25th
Ronald Acuña Jr. – 58
Detroit Tigers – 57
Colorado Rockies – 49
San Francisco Giants – 47
Now it goes without saying, the new rules such as pickoff limits, larger-sized bases, and especially, the pitch clock, have all played a factor in the 25-year-old’s phenomenal numbers, but this is on another level. A literal menace on the bases, compiling 58 stolen bases on 69 attempts, which is good for a 84% success rate.
— MLB (@MLB) August 20, 2023
“That’s been the most impressive thing about him this year,” said Braves third baseman Austin Riley. “He gets on first and the next thing you know he’s on third. It’s been very impressive to watch.”
“He does it every night, so you almost get used to it,” Braves starting pitcher Bryce Elder explained. “That’s what is so impressive about it. There’s a lot of guys who can do that one night or two nights out of five. But he does it every night. It’s kind of sad that you get used to it. But it’s pretty impressive what he’s done.”
By the same token, Acuña Jr. has played in every Braves game this season while posting a .335/.419/.568 slash line with a .997 OPS, 28 home runs, 74 RBI, and 169 total hits — currently tied with fellow Venezuelan Luis Arráez of the Miami Marlins for the MLB lead in hits.
“He’s got all the tools,” said Braves first baseman Matt Olson of Acuña Jr. “He works good at-bats and hits the ball 500 feet and steals bases and throws guys out and makes great plays in the outfield. He does it all. We love having him on our squad and leading off every night.”
Ronald Acuña Jr. ¡Demoledor ''La Bestia''! pic.twitter.com/AxI36MzEgw
— LasMayores (@LasMayores) August 20, 2023
40-40 Club Chances? Currently at 28 HR & 58 SB
The 2018 NL LatinoMVP Rookie Award winner would need to hit 12 home runs in the next 36 games to reach the 40 HR benchmark — which would land him in the baseball pantheon of the illustrious 40-40 club, that includes Alfonso Soriano (2006), Alex Rodriguez (1998), Barry Bonds (1996) and José Canseco (1988).
“It would mean a lot to me personally just because I feel like not a lot of players have been able to accomplish something like that,” Acuña Jr. said about potentially joining the 40-40 club. “But my goal maintains the same, just try to stay as healthy as possible and help the team win.”
“Play the game and enjoy it. That’s literally all I focus on.”
Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports – Email: RobertRiz994@gmail.com
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