Atlanta Braves news: Ronald Acuna is operating at the next level

Yes – he’s on fire.  But where would the Atlanta Braves be without Ronald Acuna Jr. right now?

The numbers are great, but even these by themselves don’t go nearly far enough in revealing just how vital Ronald Acuna Jr. is to the Atlanta Braves right now.

For example, consider Thursday afternoon’s finale against the Marlins:  Acuna went 2 for 5 with a home run and a single… and both his batting average and OPS went down.

But let’s look at the aggregates.  Through 13 games, the Braves have…

  • 20 home runs
  • 59 runs scored
  • 55 RBI
  • 93 hits
  • 43 extra-base hits
  • 4 steals

Of all of these, Acuna has — by himself

  • 35% of the homers (and remember:  four of those 20 homers came from pinch hitters — not from the regular position players, so he’s got 44% of those ‘non-bench’ dingers)
  • 29% of the runs scored
  • 25% of the RBI
  • 25% of the hits
  • 33% of the extra-base hits
  • 75% of the steals

 

The Atlanta Braves without Acuna?  *shudder*

Yes, those are unheard of percentages, but it also begs the question about how deep a hole the 5-8 Braves might be in without him.

There’s an argument to be made that the Braves could by 1-12 or 0-13 right now if it weren’t for the hitting coming at the top of their lineup.

There’s probably another, bigger question also looming:  how long will it be before teams simply refuse to pitch to Acuna?

Even while Freddie Freeman is the only position player with an OPS+ above average (112) entering play today, he’s still managing only a .191 batting average.

After Freeman, the next best OPS+ is in the 60’s… just over half the production level of the average hitter in the sport.

We can celebrate Acuna’s prowess all day long, but we are rapidly getting to the point at which he won’t see a pitch to hit anymore.  At least not until his mates still picking up some of the load.

So all of those runs he’s generating?  All of those homers?  Acuna might have to be content with taking walks soon.  At that point, we’ll have to find out how these Atlanta Braves can score runs via their own hitting.

That or the pitching will need to step up in a very big way.