Atlanta Braves – Can Ronald Acuna Jr. still hit a heater?
We know Atlanta Braves’ superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. leads the league in strikeouts. We know he has basically been terrible up until his first homer Saturday night. Let’s take a look at the stats to see what we find.
I noted in a recent article about Acuna’s swing being visibly different from what we are accustomed to. Personally, I’ve had several conversations with fellow Braves’ fans about the smooth beauty of his almost Griffey-like swing.
That swing has not been appearing on our television screens this season. Instead, we are getting a guy swinging clean out of his cleats and unable to connect on league-average fastballs right down the pipe.
The league has noticed. Coming into Sunday’s game, Acuna had seen 66.7% fastballs and whiffed on 39.1% of them.
He’s hitting just .150 off of fastballs this season, which sucks. The fact that opposing pitchers are completely unafraid to show one of the game’s best hitters their fastball is alarming.
I mean, two-thirds of the pitches he sees are fastballs and he’s leading the league in strikeouts with a sub-.200 average. Red Alert!!!
Atlanta Braves: Should we be worried about Ronald Acuna Jr.?
No. Get out of here with that!
In 2018, he hit .305 off of fastballs and .269 off the heater last season. Acuna has begun to cut the swing down a little the past few games and the results are already showing. He hit his first homer Saturday night and had two hard-hit balls and only one strikeout in five at-bats.
On Sunday, Acuna didn’t have any strikeouts in four plate appearances. He also added an eighth-inning double to right-center by waiting back and driving a pitch away with a cool, easy swing.
It’s early in the season and hitting coach Kevin Seitzer appears to be working with the young star to make the necessary adjustments to get his swing on track.
Acuna has a pretty swing and it’s beginning to reappear. Remember, this is just a few bad games at the beginning of the season. I have a feeling he’s about to go on a tear and you can see the improvement in his approach at the plate.
In his past five games, he has just seven strikeouts and an .822 OPS. There’s no reason to freak out this early. One bad streak can really skew the stats.
By the way, his homer Saturday night was the hardest-hit ball by an Atlanta Braves player this season at 113.8 mph.