Braves 2021 Player Previews: Ronald Acuna Jr., the Phenom

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Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Ronald Acuña Jr. has done nothing but produce since arriving in Atlanta. Will this phenom continue to rise in 2021?

A few days ago, we previewed Ozzie Albies for the upcoming 2021 season, now it is time to preview his buddy Ronald Acuña Jr. What can we expect from the young phenom in 2021?

Let us start by looking at Acuña’s 2020 season with the Atlanta Braves. To the surprise of no one, it was a phenomenal season.

In 46 games, Ronald Acuña finished with a .250/.406/.581 line. Acuña also hit 14 HR, 46 R, 29 RBI, 8 SB, a 158 wRC+, and a 2.4 fWAR.

Over a full season, that is a pace of 37.8 HR, 124.2 Rs 78.3 RBI, and 21.6 SB. Remember, he missed 14 games in a 60 season, which means this is what these numbers translate to a 124 game pace rather than 162 games. He probably plays 140-145 games, meaning these numbers would look even better.

Some may find some concerns over his average dropping from .280 in 2019 to .250 in 2020. However, batting average does not tell a full story. Look at all the other numbers.

Acuña raised his BB% to 18.8% (10.6% in 2019) which was in the top 1% in all of baseball. He also improved his SLG to .581 (.518 in 2019), ISO to .331 (.238 in 2019), and his wOBA rose to .413 (.369).

Looking at Ronald Acuña’s baseball savant page shows an even more impressive story. Here is how his advanced metrics compared to the rest of the league.

  • Top 9% in average exit velocity- 92.4
  • Top 5% in barrel rate- 16.0%
  • Top 4% in xSLG- .590
  • Top 3% in xwOBA- .401
  • Top 2% in wOBA- .407
  • Top 1% in hard hit rate- 57.0%

A reminder that Ronald Acuña is only 23 years old. He should continue to get better over the next few seasons.

Atlanta Braves fans should be thrilled to have Ronald Acuña locked up for several seasons. He will be a joy to watch at the top of this Atlanta Braves lineup for a long time.

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