Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves Goes 30/30 and Makes History

Ronald Acuña
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 23: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves steals second base during the eighth inning as Amed Rosario #1 of the New York Mets can't make the tag at Citi Field on August 23, 2019 in New York City. Teams are wearing special color schemed uniforms with players choosing nicknames to display for Players Weekend. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Ronald Acuña Jr. Joins 30/30 Club

During Friday night’s game against the host New York Mets, Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves became the 40th player ever to complete a 30/30 season by swiping his 30th base in the top of the eighth inning. He entered the game with 36 home runs on the year. 

Acuña is the first player to accomplish this feat since Mookie Betts and Jose Ramirez did so in 2018. The 30/30 club is no small accomplishment in today’s game. The stolen base seems to be a relic of the past, with players and managers not willing to run as often and choosing instead to focus on power and home runs. It’s rare that we see the combination of speed and power pay off for any player. 

No Sophomore Slump for Acuña

Acuña made waves in 2018 after being called up to the Braves, who were coming to the end of their rebuild. He slashed .293/.366/.552 and hit 26 home runs and stole 16 bases, winning National League Rookie of the Year after edging out against Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals

This year, he currently has a slash line of .296/.377/.539. One of the hard things for a player to do after coming off a hot rookie campaign is follow it up with another. Acuña has managed to stomp those expectations, putting up even better numbers than before. But could Acuña do even better? Can he chase out this year’s front runners for MVP?

MVP?

With Acuña now joining the 30/30 club, it certainly gives voters something to think about come time to pick out this year’s MVP. Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich have seemingly taken the top two spots in the National League race, and for good reason. Both have had monster years for the Dodgers and Brewers. 

Could a 40/40 season give Acuña a chance to break through and win MVP this year? Maybe, maybe not. It’s been a two-player race this whole season and that may not change. Acuña may have to settle for a top five finish, but the way the rest of the season plays out may change that. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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