Ronald Acuna Jr. has been historic in 2023. Last night, he broke the single-season franchise record for stolen bases. We explain why that and other reasons make this one of the greatest offensive seasons ever.
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Acuna Breaks Braves SB Record
Did anybody think he wasn’t going to take off when he reached in the third inning?
Acuna Should Have NL MVP Wrapped Up
Ronald Acuna Jr. should have the National League MVP wrapped up this season. He is the only player to ever hit 40 homers and steal 70 bases in a season. Meanwhile, he accomplished that feat while slashing .338/.417/.597. He leads the league in runs scored, hits, stolen bases, on-base percentage, OPS, OPS+, and total bases. It’s one of the most dominant offensive seasons of all time.
Acuna Scoring Runs at a Level Only Seen Twice Since 1949
Ronald scored his 149th run of the season last night. Only 44 players in ALL OF BASEBALL HISTORY have ever scored 150 or more runs in a season. If he doesn’t score another run today, he’ll finish tied with names like Babe Ruth (1931) and Lou Gehrig (1927).
In fact, only five players have ever finished with 149 runs in a season. outside of Jeff Bagwell in 2000, no player has scored 149 or more runs in a season since 1949 when Ted Williams put up 150 runs. When Ted Williams accomplished the feat, no player had done it since 1932.Embed from Getty Images
The Impact of Acuna’s Stolen Bases
It’s unbelievably hard! All of those stolen bases did not hurt Acuna’s chances. Scoring this many runs is not just a result of hitting leadoff in a high-octane offense. Ronald leads the league in on-base percentage and total bases. Leading the league in total bases is great but it doesn’t account for steals. Ronald effectively turns walks and singles into doubles. If you add his stolen bases and walks to his total bases, he has accounted for 535 bases this season.
His 73 steals are tied for the 45th-most in a season (since 1900).Embed from Getty Images
That’s why the stolen base matters. 73 times he has put himself into or advanced farther into scoring position. Analytics tell you that a runner on second with no outs is about twice as likely to score as a runner on first with no outs. To accomplish such a feat while leading the league in OBP and blasting over 4o homers, leading in total bases, etc… it’s incredible.
Acuna is the most well-rounded offensive player in baseball. There are no holes in his game. He has only struck out 83 times this season. He struck out 85 times in 2021 and he only played 82 games.
The Hit Machine
Ronald Acuna Jr. earned his 217th hit of the season last night with a chance for more today. His 217 hits puts him in rare air. Since 1950, only 34 players have had 217 hits in a season… Well, 35 now when you add Ronald to the list.
He is the first player to achieve 217 hits in a season since Jose Altuve did it in 2014.
Acuna Has Already Broken the Single-Season Leadoff RBI record in 2023
As of yesterday, Acuna was tied with Mookie Betts for the single-season RBI record for a leadoff hitter. Betts added one last night and took the lead 107-106. Ronnie will either finish first or second all-time after today’s games. Another feather in the cap.
BWAA’s Brave of the Year
Yesterday, he was awarded the Atlanta BWAA Chapter’s player of the year award. It’s an award given to the best Braves player. The vote was unanimous and could be a signal of how the MVP voting will go. Olson, Freeman, and Betts all had amazing seasons. Acuna’s is one of the greatest seasons ever. Children watching this season will be telling their children they got to see RAJ during his historical 2023 season. Unless he goes 50-100 next year.