The reigning National League Rookie of the Year has had an incredible second year so far. He has consistently held a batting average around .290, and has destroyed some baseballs along his way.
This All Star could become only the fifth player in MLB history to join the elusive 40-40 Club. To join this club, a player must hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases within a single season. The only players to do so are Jose Canseco in 1988, Barry Bonds in 1996, Alex Rodriguez in 1998, and Alfonso Soriano in 2006. Acuña could very possibly be on his way to joining these elite ball players.
After the game early on Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins, Ronald Acuña has 29 home runs and 26 stolen bases. He has 46 games left in the season to rack up 11 home runs and 14 stolen bases. Can the young phenom join one of the most elite clubs in all of baseball in only his second season?
How many Braves are there on the current roster that could make it to the Hall of Fame?
With Chipper getting into the hall of fame this year, and all the hype that was around Maddox, Glavin, Smoltz, and Cox getting in, it made me wonder who from this Braves team could get in? 2050 seems like a long ways away, but it’s really not if you think about it. You have to be retired at least 5 years to be eligible so that means you have to retire by 2045. For guys like Acuña, Albies, and Soroka, that gives them 20-25 more years to have a great career and to show what they got.
I am going to highlight a few Braves from the current roster who I think will be Hall of Famers by the end of their career.
But before I begin, I would like to start off by saying that I firmly believe Dale Murphy will also make the Hall of Fame within the next 10 years, he is as well deserving as anyone with the numbers he put up without steroids.
(Outfield Fly Rule)
This one almost seems kind a no-brainer. Not even 9 years into the league, Freeman has over 1,200 hits and 268 doubles. He also has 183 homers with 652 RBI’s. Since coming into the league he has been one of the best hitters in all of baseball, and he really took over as the face of the franchise for Chipper Jones. With the exception of 2017, he’s always been on the field and never really battled injuries too. As of now he has a .499 SLG% and a .877 OPS. He has been a NL MVP candidate a few times and I believe he still has a few Gold Gloves yet to come.
It appears that Freeman wants to be here for his whole career, especially now that we are close to contending again. When it’s all said and done he very well could be the best 1st baseman in Braves history.
(La Vida Baseball)
Yes we are only in Albie’s second season but this kid is a future superstar, if he’s not already. Through 155 career games he has 26 homers, 84 RBIs, and 39 doubles while hitting .283. In his 97 games in 2018 alone he has 20 home runs, 56 RBIs, and 30 doubles. All those rank among the tops of the NL. The 5’8, 165 pound 2nd basemen is swinging with a .492 SLG% as well for his career.
At only 21 years old, he is one of the most exciting guys to watch whether he is batting, taking the field, or running the bases. He is so quick at everything he does. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win 3-5 Gold Gloves, lead the league in steals, and win a batting title once or twice.
Ronald Acuña Jr.
The former overall number one prospect in the MLB has now played 51 career games. When you watch this kid play, how can you not see superstar potential. So far this season he has 9 home runs, 24 RBIs and is batting .256 with a .785 OPS. He does have 14 doubles thanks to his speedy base running, and his eye at the plate has been good with 17 walks so far. One of the reasons why he has so much potential is because of the work he does in the field with his speed and diving plays.
At only 20 years old, you can see parts of his game that need to improve both physically and mentally, but he’s one of the best players in the game right now under 22 years old. He has battled a couple injuries in his rookie season, but assuming he stays healthy, there’s no telling what this kid will do on the bases and in the field. He could go down as one of the best and more favorite outfielders in Braves history with Andruw Jones.
Soroka has now pitched in 5 games for Atlanta since getting called up in 2018, starting all 5 of them. He has posed a 2-1 record with a 3.51 ERA. In those 5 games he has gone 25.2 innings, giving up 30 hits and 10 earned runs. That is only an average of 6 hits and 2 runs per game for the young 20 year old. He also has 21 strikeouts in those 5 starts.
Soroka was put on the 10 day DL earlier this season, then once he came back he was then placed on the 60-day DL due to his shoulder injury. Being only 20 years old, Atlanta wants to be cautious with it and make sure it doesn’t get worse.
He has had two very notable games this season. The first one was his debut on May 1st where he went 6 innings against the Mets giving up 6 hits and 1 run. Then again on June 13th against the Mets where he gave up 1 hit and 0 runs. Soroka has star potential and we’ve already seen it in 5 career games for him. He looks to be a future ace or No. 2 pitcher on this Braves team.
The man, the myth, the legend….oh boy what almost was!! Last night Newcomb took a no hitter into the 9th inning only to lose it on a single through 8.2 innings. It would have been the first no-hitter ever at SunTrust Park and the first for Atlanta since 1994. All of Braves Country was on their feet in support of Sean Newcomb after the best outing of his career. He went 8.2 innings giving up 1 hit, 1 walk, and 1 unearned run.
In 2017 he went 4-9 with a 4.32 ERA in 19 games, that has improved so far in his second season with a 10-5 record to go with a 3.32 ERA through 21 games. Through his first 40 career games he now hosts a 14-14 record with a 3.73 ERA in 219.2 innings. That’s a really good stat line for a 25 year old pitcher on a rebuilding team. He also has a nice 218 strikeouts in his first two seasons.
Like Soroka, Newcomb looks to be the future of this Braves team and could be the future Ace or #2 pitcher. He has shown a lot of potential and I’m sure there’s a lot more we haven’t seen yet.
Honorable Mention: Nick Markakis (I think he might go in, but if he does it would be as a Baltimore Oriole)
With the Kolby Allard making his debut this Tuesday, and with Pache, Wright, Anderson, and Riley still yet to make their debut, we could be looking at more future stars and potentially future Hall of Famers in the Braves organization!
Ronald Acuna may have a bigger impact than we all realized. How will he fare now that he has returned to the lineup?
During the month that Ronald Acuna was on the disabled list, the Braves went just 14-13, improving their record by just one game. This was against teams that were predominantly under-.500. The one exception during this 27 game stretch was a 3-game series against the division-rival, the Washington Nationals.
The offense, at times, seemed non-existent. Some games were blown due to the poor bullpen effort, but the Braves have gone 3-0 since Acuna’s return, sweeping a series against a good Cardinals tea, scoring 22 runs in those 3 games. Acuna had 4 H, 1 BB, 4 R and 2 RBIs during that 3 game stretch, including a mammoth HR to open the scoring in game 2, where the Braves scored 11 runs.
Previous to his DL stint, the Braves were 20-12 with him on the roster. Including his return from the DL, the Braves are currently 22-11 with Ronald Acuna on the team and 26-23 without him. Now, those splits aren’t a dramatic difference, but they are definitely there.
The factors we cannot calculate are found in the clubhouse. Acuna hustles on every play (that’s how he hurt himself in the first place) and that effort will not go unnoticed. He gives the team energy that not many players can replicate. The bromance between him, Ozzie and Dansby is a whole different thing, but that adds energy to the team as well.
Ronald Acuna is back, and hopefully, he is here for the rest of the season. Who knows, he may even pull out an all-star game if he gets lucky!
After a longer wait than expected, the Braves finally got what we have been wanting since the spring ended. Ronald Acuña, the MLB’s #1 prospect, has been called up.
Acuña caught the eyes of everyone down at spring training where he was the Braves top hitter(min 25 ABs). He hit .432 with 4 HR and 11 RBI. However, he got off to a rough start in AAA where his average was well below the Mendoza line(.200). He caught fire about a week ago and hasn’t slowed down a bit. He ended up getting a hit in 8 out of his last 10 AAA games, going 6-15.
His delayed call up came as a surprise to some even when he was struggling in AAA. The Braves were going to wait at least 2 weeks to call him to gain an extra year of control but that turned into almost 4 weeks. If Preston Tucker weren’t swinging such a hot bat for the first couple of weeks, then Acuña probably would have been called up ASAP, regardless of his struggles.
Still, Tucker was playing extremely well this season and provided timely homeruns and hits. Tucker has cooled off the last couple games, but he provided an unknown yet needed bridge for Acuña to get hot in AAA. Acuña now will likely be the everyday left fielder, as no one on this roster can duplicate Acuña’s 5 tool skill set, with Tucker serving as the 4th outfielder.
If Acuña can make an immediate impact and be a spark plug for the team and fan base, the Braves just might make some noise in the NL East
Braves @ Cubs Series Preview Game 1: Friday @ 2:20, Wrigley Field Projected Starters: Anibal Sanchez(ATL), 0-0 2.25 ERA
Yu Darvish(CHI), 0-0 5.23 ERA Game 2: Saturday @ 2:20, Wrigley Field Projected Starters: Sean Newcomb(ATL), 1-1 4.35 ERA
Jose Quintana(CHI), 1-1 4.50 ERA Game 3: Sunday @ 2:20, Wrigley Field Projected Starters: Julio Teheran(ATL), 0-1 7.07 ERA
Tyler Chatwood(CHI), 0-2 4.91 ERA
The Braves are coming off their first series loss of the season, dropping two out of three to the Nationals. Going into the series leading the MLB in runs scored, the Braves tallied just six runs in the whole series against the Nationals. It was certainly a rough series but the pitching was great again. Now, the attention turns to the offense to see if they can get back rolling this series.
To begin with, Preston Tucker was thought to be just a two-week starter until Acuna got called up. However, Tucker has played his way into making the Braves wonder if Acuna being called up Monday (the day he would be able to come up and gain the Braves gain the extra year of control) is the right move.
Acuna has started out of the gates slow in AAA, batting just .105 with no HR or RBIs. Now he started off the same way in Spring Training and he ended up being one of the best players at Spring Training. For such a small sample size in AAA this season, even with the poor performances, I don’t see why the idea of calling him up Monday would change.
Going into this series, the Braves bullpen has continued to be one of the best in the MLB. On the other hand, the starting pitching has had its ups and downs but was solid in the last series. The man guy who will need to step up now and for the future will be Anibal Sanchez. With the injury to Brandon McCarthy and Luiz Gohara not back yet, Sanchez will have the chance to pitch his way into the season long rotation if he can continue to put together quality starts.
Friday will mark the first time the Braves will have ever faced Yu Darvish, who signed a who huge six-year $126 million contract this offseason. Darvish hasn’t looked relatively sharp in his first couple of starts with his new ballclub and the Braves will hope to add to Darvish’s struggles.
Series Prediction: Braves win the series 2-1
Bold Prediction: Braves put up 10+ runs in Game 1.
Ronald Acuña Jr. has been all the talk of the Braves over the offseason. After quickly moving up the farm system, many Braves fans (myself included) are excited to see him in an Atlanta Braves uniform.
Amidst all the talk, I think *most* of us were somewhat concerned when Ronald Acuña Jr. started off spring training 0-7. He has had so much hype associated with his name, we all expected him to come out swinging! But following that start, there were some questions: is he really that good? Or is he just another hyped up prospect who ends up being a Jeff Francouer (Frenchy, if you happen to be reading this, know that we all still love you)? He has since turned things around, batting 10-16 (.625) bringing his batting average up to .435 for the spring. Not too shabby for a 20-year-old, but still nothing compared to the great Nick Markakis (batting a whopping .600 so far this spring).
So how does he do it? What makes him so good? To be completely honest, I do not know. If anyone knew and could identify it, all of baseball would begin using the same techniques and strategies. Frankly, we do not understand the science behind what makes him so good. One thing we do know is that he adjusts, and adjusts quickly. In every level he has played in the Braves system, he has started off with a rough first couple of games. All of the sudden, a switch flips, and he starts hitting. And the craziest part of it all? He only has upside to him.
Perhaps the most impressive (and impressive sounding) hit for him came against a big name among major league pitchers. He hit this beauty off of Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
Oh, and notice, that was a home run that went deep to right center—he’s a righty batter, in case anyone wondered what kind of power this kid possesses.
Speaking for Braves fans everywhere, we definitely look forward to watching him as we get into baseball season. The only question now: is he so good that they can’t refuse him an opening day roster spot?