2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Ronald Acuna, Jr.

We all love Ozzie Albies, right? I like to think of Ronald Acuna Jr. as a younger, better, Ozzie Albies.

The 21 year old Acuna followed up his 2018 Rookie of the Year campaign with an All-Star game start, 41 homers, and a league leading 127 runs scored. He finished with a .280/.365/.518 batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage.

According to the Bill James Handbook 2020, Ronald was the 5th best baserunner in baseball. Presumably this takes into account turning the occasional double into a single. It certainly takes into account his 80% success rate on his league leading 37 stolen bases.

Acuna led off 118 games, putting up a .280/.364/.528 line in those games, but interestingly, only .196/.237/.438 actually leading off the game. He had a .265/.324/.470 line leading off any inning. (118 and 275 PA sample size respectively.)

Ronald played all 3 outfield positions, with all or parts of 100 games in CF, 46 in LF, and 35 in RF. He led the NL in Total Zone Runs as an OF, and finished 5th in the NL in range factor per game as a CF.

Like Albies, Acuna is signed through his age 30 season (team options for ages 29 and 30.) Here are Ronald’s most similar batters through age 21, according to Baseball Reference.

  1. Frank Robinson (952.5) *
  2. Miguel Cabrera (951.7)
  3. Giancarlo Stanton (943.4)
  4. Hank Aaron (936.0) *
  5. Justin Upton (933.5)
  6. Tony Conigliaro (930.8)
  7. Eddie Mathews (929.9) *
  8. Mike Trout (927.3)
  9. Bryce Harper (927.2)
  10. Bob Horner (923.4)
    * – Signifies Hall of Famer

Yes, please.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

29 thoughts on “2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Ronald Acuna, Jr.”

  1. Anytime your list of 10 most similiar batters include Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Mike Trout, Eddie Mathews and Miguel Cabrera, you probably are a pretty good hitter.

  2. The kid needs to adopt Ozzie’s work ethic, attitude and 110% hustle on EVERY play…don’t squander your God-given talent…RUN OUT EVERY BATTED BALL LIKE THEY TEACH IN LITTLE LEAGUE!

  3. @2
    Acuna Jr. hustles…every play, with exception being his admiration of home runs that aren’t home runs. To suggest he doesn’t hustle seems short-sighted.

    It’s my opinion that watching homeruns has become habitual and it’s not something he intentionally does. Both Albies and Donaldson were guilty of it (Donaldson was also caught watching and turned what should’ve been an easy double into a single). The difference in Albies and JD, for the most part, is they watched 3 steps, then caught themselves, and started running. Acuna needs to get to this point soon so we can bury the “lack of hustle” narrative.

  4. You should NEVER assume a ball is a homer or anything else…”every play, with exception being his admiration of home runs that aren’t home runs.”
    You contradict yourself in that sentence. NO EXCEPTIONS…if you want to be considered an elite player, YOU SHOULD RUN OUT EVERY BATTED BALL!!! It doesn’t get more basic than that. I counted at a minimum 6 instances where Acuna loafed after hitting a ball in play…this costs the team offensively and morale-wise. NO EXCUSE FOR THIS!

  5. I don’t disagree with you, but the kid hustles 99% of the time & he’s chastised like he doesn’t because of 2 very public plays.

    I’m moving on and hoping he and the Braves can do that as well and this never happens again.

  6. Freeman lost some credibility when he openly criticized Acuña and then proceeded to lay an egg in the NLDS. Ronald had one lapse in judgement, but at least he showed up.

  7. @2 & @4 He got caught up in the moment, I’m sure. He’s young, and he’s human.I’d honestly rather a player on my favorite team have moments like that because he plays with passion and enthusiasm for the game than to go out there like a robot, and just not show up.

    What did Freeman do in that Cardinals series? Sure he hit that homerun, but he whiffed about 37 times it felt like. Snitker stubbornly ran Markakis out there in the 5th hole for an entire series. It just bugs me that they wanted to drive the bus over Acuna though instead of saying, “we all could do better” or something.

  8. Interestingly, I’ve seen a lot of speculation out there right now saying Atlanta and Boston could be a trade fit in a Jackie Bradley Jr. deal. Some are suggesting Ender for Bradley Jr. straight up to help the Sox with payroll. Would anyone on here do that?

  9. In going forward with Braves Journal, we are going to try to ditch Google Ads and go with an independent sponsor for the site(I truly hate the ads they choose). The sponsor would get a virtual billboard at the top of the blog with hyperlink to their website.

    Ideally, this would be an Atlanta based business. If you’re interested and/or know anyone that could be interested in sponsoring the site for a year, let me know.


  10. Also. Ugh. Advertising can be mean. I pulled up Braves Journal, and right under the logo was an ad for a Cardinals cup. Why advertiser?…

  11. First of all, there is no bigger lifetime Braves or Acuna fan than me…I watch every one of the 162+ games each season, including several away Braves series on the road. Why are people on this thread giving Acuna a pass for his instances (at least 5 I can name) of not hustling? Everyone should call him out (a la Andruw Jones!) and want him to reach his full potential. Not only does he admire what he thinks is a homerun that hits the wall and he turns a double into a single, but earlier in the year in the outfield, he failed on several balls near the wall or misjudged balls by diving prematurely and muffing an out…admittedly, he did improve his defense later in the season. How does making lame excuses for him not hustling on EVERY pitch or play help him or the team? Why would any baseball fan be willing to settle for anything but 100% hustle and effort? All Ronnie needs to do is emulate Ozzie! GO BRAVES!

  12. @13 Failing to time a dive correctly, or misjudging a ball in the OF aren’t lack of hustle plays to me, really. I’d have to see which plays your specifically talking about though.

    I’m not of the mindset though that a guy has to go full tilt and a million miles an hour every on play over the course of 162. It’s a marathon for those guys. It has to be managed. I would’ve liked to see him run the game 1 ball out, but again, he’s human. I’m willing to give him a pass for the contribution he made to getting the club there.

  13. @14 Not saying I’d 100% do it, but it would add more punch to the order just in case they can’t keep Donaldson. Also, it opens both OF spots in 21 for Pache and Waters without carrying an expensive 4th OF in Ender.

  14. When we get around to talking about Markakis, we have to talk about just how bad his defense was in RF, at least according to FG. Basically, if FG is correct, for every 3 things Nick did right on offense he 2 bad things on defense.

  15. @6

    the problem, coop, is how do you and I set up things so that we are around to watch all this? I spend the odd hour or two pondering this, bet you do too!

  16. @16 I think Pache needs to be on the 25-man roster to begin the year. All that roster manipulation with Acuna didn’t do much good when he went on the injured list later in the year. A better way to do it would be to start him and then send him back to AAA if he doesn’t start well.

    If he makes it from the start, so much the better. Eventually, there’ll be a chance to limit his roster time. But, since Ender won’t hit to begin the year, trying Pache out would not be a big offensive risk.

  17. Pache needs more at bats in AAA to reach his potential. We have no need to rush him or Waters at this point. Take Duvall to arb, resign Joyce (or some similar 30-something) and give the kids (including Riley) time to work out the kinks. Hell, we could give Camargo regular at bats right from the start next year (I know, that would be crazy).

  18. @22

    Pretty much my thoughts as well. I think the Braves aren’t going to rush anyone up for the foreseeable future, barring some injuries. I would like to see Duvall and Joyce in platoon situation, and hope the team finds a different veteran in a trade or free agency. There are some solid names to be had on the list for next year.

  19. I’ll be interested to see if Pache or Waters plays Winter Ball anywhere. That should tell us a little about acceleration to the big leagues, or lack thereof.

  20. @26 I do, works perfectly for this site.
    Love RAJ. Happy to give him a break given his age. They’ll sort this out with him internally. I’m not worried.
    Go Braves. Go ‘Stros.

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