RONALD Jose ACUNA Jr.
Image of
Nickname:   N/A Position:   OF
Home: N/A Team:   BRAVES
Height: 6' 0" Bats:   R
Weight: 205 Throws:   R
DOB: 12/18/1997 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 13  
Birth City: La Guaira, Venezuela
Draft: 2014 - Braves - Free agent - Out of Venezuela
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2015 APP DANVILLE   18 69 10 20 5 2 1 7 5 1 10 19 .388 .464 .290
2015 GCL GCL-Braves   37 132 31 34 9 2 3 11 11 3 18 23 .376 .424 .258
2016 GCL GCL-Braves   2 6 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 .500 .333 .333
2016 SAL ROME   40 148 27 46 2 2 4 18 14 7 18 28 .387 .432 .311
2017 IL GWINNETT   54 221 38 76 14 2 9 33 11 6 17 48 .393 .548 .344
2017 SL MISSISSIPPI   57 221 29 72 14 1 9 30 19 11 18 56 .374 .520 .326
2017 FSL FLORIDA   28 115 21 33 3 5 3 19 14 3 8 40 .336 .478 .287
2018 IL GWINNETT   23 90 9 19 2 0 1 3 5 1 11 25 .297 .267 .211
2018 NL BRAVES $545.00 111 433 78 127 26 4 26 64 16 5 45 123 .366 .552 .293
2019 NL BRAVES $560.00 156 626 127 175 22 2 41 101 37 9 76 188 .365 .518 .280
2020 NL BRAVES $370.00 46 160 46 40 11 0 14 29 8 1 38 60 .406 .581 .250
2021 NL BRAVES $5,000.00 82 297 72 84 19 1 24 52 17 6 49 85 .304 .596 .283
2022 IL GWINNETT   6 19 4 7 1 0 0 1 3 0 6 6 .520 .421 .368
2022 NL BRAVES $15,000.00 4 15 2 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 .412 .400 .333
2023 NL BRAVES $17,000.00 4 14 3 2 1 0 0 0 2 0 2 2 .294 .214 .143
Personal
  • July 2, 2014: Acuna signed with the Braves for $100,000, via scout Polando Petit. Not only did Atlanta skip Ronnie over the Dominican Summer League, they also promoted him in August 2015 to the Rookie-level Appalachian League, where he continued to hit.

    Ronald's bonus was not very large. Nearly 200 other international players signed for more during that signing period. The Braves themselves signed six players for larger bonuses.

    In fact, when Acuna woke up the morning of July 2, 2014, the first day of the signing period, he planned to sign with another team, for even less money.

    “I was going to sign with the Royals,” Acuna said. “But that same day, the Braves called and offered me more money. So, I decided to sign with the Braves.”

  • Ronald began playing the game at the age of 3 and has wanted to play professionally for as long as he can remember. Unlike many young Latin American players, he advanced rapidly to the U.S. and had little difficulty adjusting.

    “A lot of people helped me (adjust to the U.S.),” Acuna said through a translator in April 2016, “and I was doing what I always wanted to do. It’s been fun and I feel good.”

  • After the 2016 season, Acuna made up for lost time over the winter in the Australian Baseball League, where he earned all-star honors while hitting .375/.446/.556 in 20 games.

  • Ronald has an advanced feel for the game. He's quite athletic also—a nice combination. “I think with Ronald we’re seeing the combination of an increase in experience and physical maturity coming together to produce some impressive results,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt he has all the tools to develop into an impact player at higher levels in this game.”

  • In 2016, Baseball America rated Acuna as the 26th-best prospect in the Braves' organization. They moved Ronald all the way up to 6th-best prospect in the offseason before 2017 spring training. And in the winter before 2018 spring camps opened, BA had Acuna as the #1 prospect in the Braves' organization.

  • In 2017, Acuna represented the Braves at the All-Star Futures game. As he has flown through the Braves' farm system, Ronald Acuna has shown he has all the tools to become a Major Leaguer.  At the 2017 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the 19-year-old continued to prove just how well-rounded he is with his arm strength in the outfield and solid contact at the plate.

    In a 7-6 victory for the U.S. team, Acuna showed off his arm from right field with two rockets that clocked in at 95.2 and 96.7 mph, according to Statcast, further backing the idea that he might become a big league outfielder in the near future.

    "Those throws are something that I do all natural," Acuna said through an interpreter. "I don't try to do too much. My arm strength is just something natural."

  • 2017 season: Acuna batted .325, tallied 21 home runs, recorded 44 stolen bases, and compiled an .896 OPS over the 612 plate appearances he made for Class A Advanced Florida, Mississippi, and Triple-A Gwinnett combined. The 19-year-old Venezuela native improved his OPS at each level and truly proved himself at Gwinnett, where he hit .344 with a .940 OPS over 54 games.

    In 2017, Ron was Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year.

    Acuna's great season had people talking.

    “I had an opportunity with Ken Griffey Jr., with Alex Rodriguez, and now Acuna," said Gwinnett hitting coach John Moses, a former Mariner. "I mean you can throw him into that lot of guys, for me, at 19 years old. He’s only going to get better. The guys are special when they come around like this.” 

    Braves Assistant Farm Director Jon Schuerholz: “Watching him play, you can see it. This is what he was meant to do from the time he was put on this earth. He was meant to play baseball.” 

  • In 2017, Acuna was named the Braves Prospect of the Year by MLB Pipeline.com.

  • In 2017, Acuna was invited to play in the AFL Fall Stars Game.

    FAMILY OF BALLPLAYERS

  • Acuna's father, Ron Acuna Sr., and his grandfather, Romualdo Blanco, both played in the Minor Leagues. And several of his other family members play baseball, too.

    Ron Sr. was an outfielder for three different organizations: The Mets system from 1999-2004, Blue Jays in 2005, and the Brewers in 2006.

    His grandfather, Rosmaldo (Romo) Blanco was a pitcher in the Astros' farm system.

  • November 18, 2017: When the Mesa Solar Sox and Peoria Javelinas take the field in the Arizona Fall League championship game, no player will draw more attention than Atlanta Braves 19-year-old outfield phenom Ronald Acuna. Acuna's rise to prospect stardom was rapid and somewhat unexpected, but perhaps the spotlight should have shone on him a bit sooner.

    Not only is Acuna a potential five-tool superstar, but he comes from a baseball family—something that often gets players noticed a bit earlier, especially toward the beginning of their careers. 

    "I have many cousins playing organized baseball," Ron said. "They [served] as my motivation when I was a kid and saw them play."

    While his cousins served as motivation, his father and grandfather provided him with good baseball genetics. Blanco, a righthander, posted a 4.58 ERA across six Minor League seasons. Acuna Sr. hit .282 over eight Minor League seasons. "I was told he was a good ballplayer," Acuna said of his grandfather. "He threw hard, 99 to 100 miles per hour, and was on a 40-man roster." 

    Perhaps one of those people telling Acuna about the ballplayers in his family is Luis Salazar, who managed Acuna with the Double-A Mississippi Braves this season and is currently managing him with the Arizona Fall League's Peoria Javelinas.

    "I played with his grandfather, he was one of the top prospects for the Houston Astros," Salazar said of Blanco, whom he played with in the Venezuelan Baseball League as a member of the La Guaira Sharks in 1974-1975. But that's not Salazar's only connection to the Acuna family—he also managed Acuna Sr. in the winter leagues.

    Of course, neither Acuna's grandfather nor father had the type of career that many expect Acuna to have. This season, Ronald slashed .325/.374/.522 with 21 homers and 44 stolen bases over 139 games across three levels. He then went on the Arizona Fall League, where he continued to rake, hitting .325 and leading the league with seven homers in 23 games.

    "I'm very proud of him, like I said earlier, and happy," Acuna Sr. said. "I'm hoping he stays healthy and does what everyone says he can do."

    As for what everyone says Acuna can do—many expect him to be baseball's next big phenom and although he's still a teenager, everything he's done thus far points straight to stardom. "He can go from Double-A to the big leagues," Salazar said. "He's ready to go to the big leagues next season and this kid, he's going to be in the big show for a long, long time." (W Boor - MLB.com - November 17, 2017)

  • In 2017, Acuna was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League after he hit .325/.414/.639 and led the league with 7 homers in 23 games for the Peoria Javelinas. 

  • "Ronald's a special player," Braves manager Brian Snitker said in Spring Training 2018. "There's no doubt about it. You can see that when you watch him. He's just doing what comes natural. He's not trying to be great. He's just doing his thing." 

    "I put him in the same class as the [Mike] Trouts and the [Bryce] Harpers," Ralph Garr, Braves guest instructor said. "They're special people. Some people are just gifted. God just seemed to bless people with special talents, and they're able to stand a little above the norm. But you never know what's going to happen, and you can't say until he has the chance to do it. He has 20 years or so to see how well he does."  (Bowman - mlb.com - 3/15/2018)

  • MLB debut (April 25, 2018): Ronald made his long-awaited debut, after he’d struggled through weeks of service time with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate. The sole, obvious purpose of this delay was so that the Braves could add an extra year of contract control during the arbitration process. During a back-and-forth game with the cellar-dwelling Reds, Acuña put most of his Big-League-ready skills on display.

    The line on its own looked unremarkable—1-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts—but it’s what came in the margins that flashed his potential. In his first two at-bats, Acuña swung at the first pitches he saw, but both were mammoth outs close to the outfield wall.

    Once Acuña landed a poke up the middle for his first big-league hit in the eighth inning, it was a perfect time to showcase his game-changing speed. He clocked in at 30.3 feet/second sprint speed per Statcast, which is in Billy Hamilton territory.

  • The search for the next great international prospect takes scouts to all corners of Latin America—from the highways in bustling cities like Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to winding dirt roads in small fishing villages like La Sabana, Venezuela. The path takes them through places like Mexico, Central America, and backroads across the Caribbean. There, they watch teenage prospects in tryouts, test them in private workouts and, if the scouts are lucky, they get to pit the teens against other top prospects in games.

    And while each team has their own method and strategy, scouting 15-year-olds and projecting them as Major Leaguers several years in advance is an inexact science. Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., the top prospect in baseball, was about 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds soaking wet when the international scouts came calling in Venezuela. He was athletic and had the family baseball pedigree, but there were doubts about his future. And those reservations helped keep 29 teams from signing him when he became eligible on July 2, 2014.

    Acuna Jr. is one of the most dynamic players in the game, and he's on track to be the best player in a family full of big leaguers. It's impossible to know how great Acuna will be, but it's already certain that he has the opposing international scouting directors who missed him shaking their heads every time he steps on the field.

    "I had him on a platter and ready to sign, but I started getting picky," one National League executive said. "He was athletic and he had tools, but I thought his swing was too long. I made a mistake, but that's how it is. You get a couple of looks at a kid and you have to make a decision. I have learned from that experience, though."

    Acuna Jr.'s size discouraged some scouts, but there are numerous reasons why so many teams could have overlooked him. Maybe he didn't throw, hit or run well during a workout with a team because he was tired or he simply had a bad day. Maybe an area scout didn't "pound the table" hard enough to sign him or the local scouts didn't see him perform well in games.

    There's also a lot of second-guessing that comes with investing thousands, and sometimes millions, of dollars into 16-year-old prospects. So it's not uncommon for decision-makers to have some doubt, especially when each team has a limited amount of money to spend on the international market. And particularly if a player lacks an obvious "wow" factor.

    Ronald Acuna Jr.'s big league cousins are Kelvim Escobar, Alcides Escobar, José Escobar, Edwin Escobar and Vicente Campos. Angel Escobar, was the first player from La Sabana to play in the Major Leagues, when he suited up for the Giants in 1988. Another brother, Oscar, played in the Minors with the Blue Jays and Pirates. His brother Miguel Escobar is not only Ronald Acuna Sr.'s cousin, he's also his godfather.

    Petit once scouted Acuna Sr., but the outfielder signed with the Mets for $15,000 before he could close the deal. Years later, Petit asked for a second opinion on an interesting, but undersized, infielder. But that prospect, Jose Altuve, soon signed with the Astros for $15,000. Petit's own misses reinforced a valuable lesson in international scouting. (Jesse Sanchez- MLB.com-June 30, 2018)

  • November 2018: Acuna represented MLB in the All-Star Tour in Japan.

  • September 22, 2018: Acuna's first-inning stolen base made him just the fourth player to record at least 25 homers and 15 stolen bases in his age-20 season or younger.

    Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda and Trout are the only other players in this distinguished club. Trout is the most recent player to accomplish the feat in his rookie season. (Mark Bowman- MLB.com)  

  • Acuna's favorite player growing up was Miguel Cabrera. When Acuna was younger, he watched Miguel Cabrera play in Venezuela and compared it to "seeing the president." He liked the way Miggy played with ease.

    The two met when they played against one another in Spring Training (2018). Cabrera gave the outfielder a lot of advice—telling him to stay humble, work hard and listen to those around him.

    ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

  • In 2018, Acuña was The Sporting News'  NL Rookie of the Year, as selected by a panel of 192 NL players. The publication has given out Rookie of the Year awards since 1946.

  • In 2018, Acuna was named Baseball Digest's NL Rookie of the Year. 

  • In 2018, Acuna won the Jackie Robinson NL Rookie of the Year Award, beating out Juan Soto of the Nationals and Walker Buehler of the Dodgers.

    Acuna, 20, slashed .293/.366/.552 in 111 games (487 plate appearances), with 26 home runs, 64 RBI, a 144 OPS+, .388 wOBA, and 143 wRC+ for the NL East champion Braves.The 20-year-old Soto hit .292/.406/.517 with 22 homers, 70 RBI, a .392 wOBA, 146 wRC+, and 142 OPS+ in 116 games for the Nats.

  • As the 2018 season drew to a close, teams jockeyed for spots in the postseason, players made their final cases for end-of-year awards and—most importantly—Topps opened fan voting to select which player would have the honor of being the No. 1 baseball card in their 2019 set.

    Nineteen players were on the ballot, including recent winners (Aaron Judge, Kris Bryant and Mike Trout), established superstars (Mookie Betts and Bryce Harper) and rising stars (Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr.). After leading the Braves to an NL East title and winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award, Acuña emerged victorious. (Cut4-MLB.com)

  • June 27, 2019: The Braves phenom has followed up his NL Rookie of the Year performance in 2018 with his first career All-Star nod. Acuña rounds out an NL outfield full of young superstars. Yelich is the oldest at 27, Bellinger is 23 and Acuña is just 21. They're all first-time starters, too. In fact, Acuña will become the first player to start an All-Star Game at age 21 or younger since Mike Trout and Bryce Harper in 2013. Acuna also participated in the Home Run Derby.

  • August 23, 2019: With his 30th steal of second base. Acuna joined the 30-30 club. Acuña Jr. can savor the fact that he now stands as the second-youngest player to join the game’s exclusive club. The only other player to join the 30-30 club before his 22-year-old season was Mike Trout in 2012.

  • September 14, 2019: Acuna hit his 39th homer and swiped a pair of bases to bring his season total to 36. He's the first player in franchise history with a 35-35 season. And at 21 years old, he's the youngest player in Major League history to reach those plateaus.

  • Oct 3, 2019: To ignore the foolish and selfish play of the Braves’ Acuna would be to ignore what contributed to his team’s Game 1 playoff loss to the Cardinals. Even his teammates and manager were unable to dismiss it as anything other than inexcusable.

    For background: In August, Acuna had been benched for failure to run out what he thought was a home run. In the playoff game, leading off the bottom of the seventh, with the Braves up 3-1, he turned a double or more into a single. Acuna golfed one deep down the right field line, several yards fair, then gave it a stylish hop, jogging toward first while carrying his bat in anticipation of a nice, slow, home run trot.

    The ball hit the base of the wall. Acuna, who minimally should have been at second, stood at first. The Braves did not score that inning and lost, 7-6.

    On TBS, play-by-play man Brian Anderson said: “I had my eyes on the ball. I don’t know if he busted it out of the box. But he ends up on first base.”

    Soon, replays told the entire story. And analysts Ron Darling and Jeff Francoeur were left to wonder what was going on in Acuna’s head in such a game. We’d heard Darling wonder such dozens of times after such displays, no good answers to follow except the incomplete bromide, “The game has changed.” 

    In the ninth, Acuna hit a too-late, two-run homer to center. He stood posing at the plate, watching it before slowly, grandly, jogging the bases as if he’d just won the game. (P Mushnick - New York Post - Oct 5, 2019) (Editor's note: The Cardinals won the series three games to two.)

  • Nov 17, 2019: Watch Acuña's younger brother's familiar swing. Ronald’s youngest brother, Bryan, was part of a showcase at Salt River Fields, and he showed that he has a lot in common with his older brother beyond their last name. 

    Bryan is Ronald Acuña Sr.’s third son, and he was one of 116 participants in Major League Baseball’s Trainer Partnership International Showcase. The youngest Acuña son is 14, so he won’t be eligible to sign until 2021. Their father, Ronald Sr., signed with the Mets in 1997, Ronald Jr. signed with the Braves in 2015 and the middle son, Luisangel, signed with the Rangers last year.

    The Acuñas’ extended family has further baseball ties, too, including Jose Escobar, Alcides Escobar, Kelvim Escobar, Edwin Escobar and Vicente Campos, all of whom reached the Majors at some point. (S Langs - MLB.com - Nov 17, 2019)

  • 2019 Season: Acuña ended up three stolen bases shy of a 40-40 season. But at age 21, he became the youngest player to record a 40-30 season. In fact, he was just the third player with 40 or more homers in a season at age 21 or younger, along with Eddie Mathews and Mel Ott.

  • Though Truist Park has remained relatively quiet as the Braves have played controlled scrimmages in summer workouts, Ronald has kept things lively with the energy he brings to the park on a daily basis.

    As Acuña stood out in right field, his chatter and singing has been clearly heard in the press box. The All-Star outfielder talked smack as good friend Johan Camargo batted against Sean Newcomb. He then howled when Camargo struck out.

    A short time later, Marcell Ozuna was the target of Acuña’s enthusiastic banter. After Ozuna lined a single to right field off Grant Dayton, Acuña stood at the top of the dugout and playfully asked for the ball to be sent to him to be preserved as a keepsake. 

    Once Acuña received the ball, he waved it as he looked toward Ozuna, who had gone 2-for-24 before Spring Training 2020 was shut down in March.

    “It’s kind of typical of this group,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “They’ve demonstrated over the past few years just how much fun they have playing baseball.”  (Bowman - mlb.com - 7/9/2020)

  • Oct. 24, 2020: While the Braves can continue to celebrate the awards being handed out to players of their team, it’s also great to see some of these awards tied to great players of the past. Such is the case for the Luis Aparicio Award, which since 2004 has been annually given to the best-performing Venezuelan player over the course of the season.

    This year, the winner is Ronald Acuna Jr., who now joins an elite club of players who have been named as multi-year recipients of the award.

    Miguel Cabrera (5 times), Jose Altuve (3 times), Johan Santana (twice), Ronald Acuna Jr. (twice).    

  • 2020 Season: Ronald Acuña Jr. turned in another great season for the Braves and further cemented himself among the best players in the game. The pandemic and shortened season prevented Acuña from continuing his 40-40 chase but we saw his game continue to evolve at the plate while stepping up and playing centerfield on a much more regular basis than was originally planned.

    What went right in 2020?

    It is hard to find much to nitpick with Acuña’s 2020 season. He slugged 14 more home runs in just 46 games and 202 plate appearances. Acuña recorded 40 hits with 25 of them going for extra bases. He posted career-best in wRC+ (159) and OPS (.987). His Statcast numbers illustrate that there are few players that can match Acuña’s offensive prowess.

    Acuña’s game evolved considerably in regard to his plate discipline where he upped his OBP from a solid .365 in 2019 to a spectacular .406 this season. His walk rate jumped to a career best 18.8%. To put that in context, Acuña recorded 38 walks in 202 plate appearances which was exactly half as many as the 76 he had in 2019 in over 700 plate appearances.

    Coming into the season the expectation was that Acuña would see more time in right field, but the struggles of Ender Inciarte necessitated a shift to center. In all he was worth four Defensive Runs Saved while Statcast had him at two Outs above Average.

    What went wrong in 2020?

    Lingering wrist soreness landed Acuña on the injured list in mid-August and he was still feeling the effects during the postseason. The Braves were confident at the end of the season that rest would take care of the problem and that surgery wouldn’t be needed. It is scary to think about how good he might have been at the plate if not for the wrist issue. it feels like nitpicking to point out that while the walk rate did jump, the strikeout rate nudged to just under 30%. (Kris Willis@Kris_Willis - Nov 18, 2020)

  • Dec 7, 2020: Ronald is still hitting tape-measure shots and bringing viewers to their feet, even if it's not in a Major League ballpark. In a video of what appeared to be a pickup game first posted by the account El Extrabase, Acuña unleashes one of his signature massive swings and sends a ball deep to left field. The players watching in front of the dugout erupt and follow him up the baseline as Acuña flips his bat to the sky, looks directly into the camera and pats his chest, gold chain bouncing.

     Acuña may have been a ringer brought in for the game, a scary thought for any pitcher. Clearly, the Braves' outfielder was not holding back, no matter who was on the mound. Let's all be thankful for that, because it produced another memorable Acuña bat flip, with many more to come. (Braves Team News - Nov 7, 2020)

  • July 2021: Acuna was chosen to start in the outfield for the All-Star Game.

    SINGER HAS CRUSH ON RONALD JR.

  • Music is the best vehicle for stories of unrequited love.  Now there is a new song:  It's about Atlanta's superstar Ronald Acuña Jr.

    Alt-folk artist Faye Webster, herself from Atlanta, released "A Dream With a Baseball Player," the debut single from her forthcoming album.  The song, which features the chorus "How did I fall in love with someone I don't even know?" chronicles her teenage crush on Acuña. 

    "I saw you last night in my dream / That’s still the closest you and I have been / That’s kind of sad, don’t you think?" Webster sings on one verse before later adding, "I could just meet him and get it over / Or I’ll just keep wearing his name on / My shirt / Whatever I need just to help me cope."

    For anyone thinking that this couldn't possibly be about Acuña, well, Webster admits to it.  "[It's a] song about Ronald Acuña Jr., obviously," Webster said in a statement. "Off tour I spent so much of my time watching baseball that I thought I wanted to be a baseball player.  But I’m not, so I guess the next best thing was having a crush on one.  I guess this song explains what having a crush feels like.  Having made up conversations with them in your head even though you don’t speak their language, wearing their team jersey every day, things that make you feel closer to this person that you don’t know at all.  But I sang at the Braves game, and they let us meet, so I think I got that one out of my system."

    Webster's new album, "I Know I’m Funny haha" will be released June 25, 2021, on Secretly Canadian records before she heads out on a U.S. Tour.  (Clair - mlb.com - 6/24/2021)

  • Dec 28, 2021: How indie rocker Faye Webster's crush on Ronald Acuna Jr. helped inspire one of 2021's best albums. Indie rocker Faye Webster has spent a lot of time thinking about and singing about Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr.

    While off the road from touring her 2019 album "Atlanta Millionaires Club," Webster, a native of Atlanta, found herself with a lot of free time. She spent much of it watching the Braves. On some nights she would stream the games on Hulu Plus, to which she subscribed just to watch her favorite team. When she felt more nostalgic, she turned on the radio and listened to the broadcasts, something she had done frequently growing up. Webster quickly began to take notice of Acuña Jr., then a rising superstar, who sparked her creativity. 

    "It wasn't like I wanted to write a song about baseball," Webster told ESPN in July. "It was like I'm writing about this because this is all I've done this year. It just consumed my life, the Braves."

    A distant crush developed. She had made-up conversations in her head with Acuña, and began wearing his team's jersey on a daily basis. She felt compelled to put her thoughts about Acuña on paper, which eventually turned into the song "A Dream With a Baseball Player," a single off her critically acclaimed record "I Know I'm Funny haha," which the music site Pitchfork recently named the 11th-best album of 2021.

    "I could just meet him and get it over / Or I'll just keep wearing his name on my shirt / Whatever I need just to help me cope," Webster sings. "How did I fall in love with someone / I don't know?"

     After she first released the song as a single in 2019, the Braves invited her to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch. Webster grew up going to Braves games with her dad and family. She felt nervous while on the field at Truist Park for batting practice before her performance, googling the lyrics to the baseball anthem and reading them, over and over again.

    "It's like, you know the lyrics, what am I doing?" Webster said.

    A Braves employee told her she could meet the subject of her song, and Webster and Acuña began chatting through a translator. She did not mention the song she wrote about him. In fact, she assumed he hadn't even heard it.

     "I said nothing to this person about who I was or anything," Webster said.

    Before the two parted ways, Acuña had something to say.

    "Thank you for the music," he said. And Webster's head started racing.

    "What does that even mean?" Webster said, recalling the meeting with Acuña. "Who told you something? It was not me. I don't know what they told you. I don't know. It was nice." (Joon Lee - ESPN - Dec 28, 2021)

  • July 12, 2021: To get a sense of the aspirations and confidence Ronnie had at an early age, you could simply ask whether he ever envisioned that he would get to a point where he was this year, when he garnered one of this year’s highest All-Star vote totals.

    “I mean, I've always imagined,” Acuña said through an interpreter. “I know the talents and the abilities that God blessed me with. So I’ve always hoped for and imagined it. So just a thank you to the fans and people who voted for me to be in my second All-Star Game.”

    Acuña garnered the most votes among National League players in Phase 1 of fan balloting and ranked second only to Fernando Tatis Jr. in Phase 2. The 23-year-old Braves outfielder then garnered more votes than any other big leaguer when the votes cast by MLB players were announced. (M Bowman - MLB.com - July 12, 2021)

  • According to Danny Vietti, Acuna is the only MLB player with 100 or more homers and 75 or more thefts within his first 400 career games.

  • 2021 Season: If Acuna did not go down with a torn ACL, he was arguably on pace to win the NL MVP award. Unfortunately for the Braves, they had to figure things out without their superstar as he went down right before the All-Star Break.

    It is hard to replace Acuña, but a great deadline trade saw the Braves bring in four outfielders to replace Ronnie . . . and it worked out well.

    Talking about Ronald Acuña Jr., he was on pace for an MVP award. Through 82 games and 360 plate appearances, Acuña was hitting .283/.394/.596 24 HR, 72 R, 52 RBI, 17 SB, .412 wOBA, 157 wRC+, 155 OPS+, 4.2 fWAR, & 3.6 bWAR.

    Acuña was solid on the basepaths with a 3.8 BsR and a 2.2 UBR. His defensive metrics were a 2 DRS and 0 OAA.

    To show how great he was in his half-a-season, his 4.2 fWAR was good for 51st in all of baseball, 28th in the National League. His 4.2 fWAR would have led the Marlins, Cubs, Reds, Colorado Rockies, Diamondbacks, Twins, Tigers, Mariners, and Rangers.

     It is unfortunate that Acuña’s season was cut short because he was on a historic pace. Hopefully he can pick up where he left off in 2022.  (Trent Dickeson - Feb. 13, 2022)

  • June 30, 2022: Acuna, 24, was named to his third All-Star Game. Acuna is batting .281 with seven home runs, 18 RBIs, 28 runs and 13 stolen bases through 43 games this year. 

  • July 1, 2022: Phase 1 of the two-phase voting process for this year’s MLB All-Star Game starters is complete, and with the top vote-getter from each league getting an automatic spot in his club’s starting lineup for the Midsummer Classic, a lot was on the line.

    The top vote-getter in the in the National League, a late surge pushed Ronald Acuña Jr. past Mookie Betts by fewer than 24,000 votes. Acuña, the superstar outfielder for the Braves, got 3,503,188 votes. (M Randhawa - MLB.com - July 1, 2022)

    Acuña will be starting in the All-Star game for the second time in his career, becoming just the fourth Braves player to start in multiple All-Star games before turning 25. He also participated in the Home Run Derby where he hit the longest blast traveling a Statcast-projected 472 feet and cleared the roof of the left-center field pavilion on its way out of the ballpark, putting him in exclusive company.

    In 60 years of game competition at Dodger Stadium, only five players have launched a ball entirely out of the ballpark: Fernando Tatis Jr., Giancarlo Stanton, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza and Willie Stargell (twice).

    WINTER LEAGUE IN VENEZUELA

  • Nov 4, 2022:  Ronald Jr. is the biggest Major League star that Venezuela has produced in recent years. However, the country’s devoted baseball fanbase has not had the chance to see the star right fielder in action on their own soil.  Until now. 

    Acuña has received permission from the Atlanta Braves to suit up for the Tiburones de la Guaira of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League for the first time this winter. While the Tiburones represent Acuña’s hometown of La Guaira, the team plays its home games at Estadio Universitario in the capital city of Caracas.  

    Acuña made the announcement in a video posted to the Tiburones’ Twitter. Atlanta GM Alex Anthopoulos confirmed that Acuña has the green light to play five games with La Guaira, strictly as the designated hitter. The Tiburones have not announced a date for Acuña’s debut. (N Alonso - MLB.com - Nov 4, 2022)

  • Jan. 24, 2023: Ronald Acuña Jr. announced his retirement from baseball in Venezuela following an altercation with a family in the stands. Baseball fans were graced with an all-time home run celebration from Ronald Acuña in the Venezuelan Winter League, but apparently, there were some things going on behind the scenes that turned violent. His family was attacked during the 7th inning of the game.

  • Acuna committed to play for Venezuela in the 2023 WBC.

  • It’s been four years since Acuña’s breakout 2019 season, when he hit 41 homers, drove in 101 runs and led the NL with 37 stolen bases. Acuña, 25, hasn’t played more than 119 games in a season since. He underwent ACL surgery in July 2021 and started last season on the injured list as he continued to rehab his right knee. Once he was activated, he held his own but hit just .266 with 15 home runs and 29 stolen bases (and was caught stealing a league-leading 11 times).

    Ronald looked like he was operating at about 85 percent last season, but this spring, for the first time since the surgery, he’s moving the way he did in 2019. I think he’ll get back to playing at his accustomed level. In fact, he’s my early pick for NL MVP.

    What the front office says: Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos said the team is “optimistic” Acuña will play like he did in 2021, before the injury. “Ronald is back to ‘100 percent’ this spring and should be as explosive as ever,” Anthopoulos said when I asked how Acuña has looked in spring training. (Jim Bowden-Mar 3, 2023-TheAthletic)

  • April 26, 2023: “Ronald Acuña Jr. has 123 home runs and 119 stolen bases in his first 537 MLB games and no one’s ever done that before,” Codify Baseball tweeted.

  • Who is Ronald Acuna Jr.'s fiancée, Maria Laborde?

    It has been a year to remember for Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. Not only did the superstar outfielder enter the season fully healthy after missing nearly all of April last season, but he and his girlfriend Maria Laborde got engaged.

    Soon after New Year's Day, Acuna asked his girlfriend Maria Laborde to marry him and she accepted. The marriage proposal was captured on video and shared by several friends and family members as well as Maria herself on social media.

    Unsurprisingly, Maria said yes to the Atlanta Braves superstar. Not only is she Ronald Acuna Jr.’s fiancee, but she is also the mother of his adorable son, Ronald Daniel Acuña Laborde born in September 2020.

    Maria Laborde was born in Valencia in Carabobo, Venezuela, and was crowned Miss Teen Carabobo in 2015. She is active on social media, with highlights on her Instagram page (@marialaborde) documenting the moment that Acuna proposed to her.

    While little is known about her early years and private life outside of her family with Ronald Acuna, there are several things known about her immediate family. Her sister Nerea Laborde is somewhat of a TikTok star with around 100,000 followers. Her mother, Astrid Gonzalez de Laborde, studied business administration at the Universidad de Carabobo in Venezuela. Her father's name is Michel Laborde.  (Lyndon Suvanto - May 03, 2023)

  • June 22, 2023: Acuña Jr. was selected to again serve as one of the National League’s starting outfielders at the year’s All - Star Midsummer Classic.

    Acuña received more votes than any other MLB player during Phase 1 of the balloting process, which ended Thursday afternoon. This marks the third consecutive year the Braves outfielder has garnered more votes than any other NL player. He joins Hank Aaron (1970 and ’71) and Dale Murphy ('85) as the only Braves to ever garner the most votes in the balloting process. Acuña outpolled American League ballot leader Shohei Ohtani, 3,082,600-2,646,307. Each is guaranteed a spot in the starting lineup as the top vote-getters in their respective leagues. (Mark Bowman)

  • June 30, 2023: Acuña Jr. became the first player in history with 20 homers and 35 steals before All-Star break.

  • July 2023: Acuna was chosen to start in the OF for the NL at the MLB All-Star Game.

  • July 4, 2023: Acuña Jr. 1st in MLB History With 20 HRs, 40 SBs, 50 RBIs Before All-Star Game.

  • On the field isn’t the only place where Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. routinely makes his teammates do a double take.

    “You should see him in the gym,” said Braves pitcher Spencer Strider.

    “We have this jump-measuring thing,” explained Ozzie Albies, “and the top one I did was 5-foot-8 and he does like 6-8 and tells me that wasn’t even a full jump. Like, wait a minute.”

    “Oh yeah,” Matt Olson said. “He’s floating up there for a lot longer than I’m off the ground.”

    Floating is also the operative word when it comes to describing Acuña’s season, as the 25-year-old — always saddled with sky-high expectations — has, somehow, put himself in another stratosphere. Right now, Acuña leads MLB in runs (79), stolen bases (41), OPS (.990), OPS+ (162), and total bases (209). He’s hitting .331 with 21 homers and 55 RBIs.Acuña is the first player in history to record 20 homers, 40 stolen bases and 50 RBIs in the first half and is on pace for 36 homers and 75 stolen bases. Just going 40-40 would be an incredible accomplishment, as baseball has only had four players do that. Acuña, though, has a chance to go 40-60 or 40-70 or even 40-75 and put his 2023 season in the conversation of one of baseball’s best ever. 

    Acuña is in uncharted territory, where 70 steals and a 1.000 OPS are in range. No one has ever done that. Only two players — Rickey Henderson and Joe Morgan — have had 60-plus steals and a 1.000 OPS in the same season and both are Hall of Famers.

    “I feel like he might have a chip on his shoulder,” said Olson. “He came back last year off the ACL (surgery). I know he had to sit out some games ‘cuz his knees were sore and still hit .266 and was a great leadoff hitter for us.  I felt like he got a little negative attention he didn’t deserve. I don’t know if that fueled him a little bit for this year, but it was unfair the way people were talking about him. Let’s not forget the guy is 24, 25 years old and coming off an ACL and has been the best player on the field his whole life. He was doing something new coming back from an injury and trying to jump back into that elite player that he’s always been is not always gonna happen (right away). He came into spring this year and you could see it. He’s just taken off.”

    Acuña the player is dynamic and fun to watch. Acuña the person is dynamic and fun to watch, constantly cracking jokes with Albies and Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia — or dazzling on the red carpet with a miniature bedazzled chain of himself.

    “My favorite Acuña story?” ponders Dodgers first baseman and former teammate Freddie Freeman.

    Freeman launches into an anecdote about Acuña’s first day, about seeing him in Cincinnati in 2018, the youngest player in the big leagues at the time.

    “He wasn’t nervous, he wasn’t anything,” Freeman said. ‘The first day I got called up I was ready to throw up … It felt like he was ready for it. I think that’s my favorite thing, the day he got called up it looked like he was born to play baseball.” (Ghiroli - July 13,2023 - The Athletic)

  • Aug. 13, 2023: Ronald Acuña Jr had the 8th 25+ HR, 55+ SB season in MLB history and first since 1990 Rickey Henderson. (Sarah Langs)

  • Aug 28, 2023: - Ronald Acuña Jr. moved a step away from history as he was serenaded with MVP chants while helping the Braves roll to a 14-4 win over the Rockies on at Coors Field.

    Acuña hit his 29th homer in the fifth inning, stole his 60th base in the seventh and then increased his MLB-leading stolen-base total to 61 in the eighth inning. He now stands as one of four players to hit 20-plus homers and steal 60-plus bases in the same season.

    Acuña joins Rickey Henderson (three times), Joe Morgan (twice) and Eric Davis as the only players to steal 60-plus bases and hit 20-plus homers in the same season. Henderson had been the most recent to reach the plateau in 1990, when he hit 28 homers and swiped 65 bags for the A’s. (M Bowman - MLB.com - Aug 29, 2023)

  • The Major League Baseball Players Association on Tuesday said it intends to review team and stadium safety measures in response to a pair of security incidents in a four-day span. Two women suffered gunshot wounds at the White Sox’s Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday night, and a pair of fans ran toward Ronald Acuña Jr. at Coors Field on Monday night. It was reported that multiple fans ran on the field to hug Ronald Acuna Jr. in the outfield at Coors Field. The fans were escorted out after they were wrestled to the ground. Acuna Jr was also on the ground at one point during the altercation, he was knocked down but unharmed. 

    Field intruders generally are turned over to the police before being ejected from the ballpark. Police and prosecutors decide whether field intruders should be criminally charged.

    Clubs may separately penalize field intruders by banning them from their ballparks.

    The commissioner’s office reviews all field intrusion incidents and may impose further penalties on field intruders, up to and including a lifetime ban from all MLB ballparks and facilities. (Drellich - Aug 29, 2023 - The Athletic)

  • Aug. 31, 2023:  Acuña became the first player ever to combine 30 home runs and 60 stolen bases in a season. Acuña's grand slam, off Dodgers right-hander Lance Lynn in the second inning, was also the 150th homer of his career, making him the second player in major league history to record 150 homers and 150 steals at age 25 or younger. The other player to do that is Mike Trout. Barry Bonds (1990) and Eric Davis (1987) reached 30 homers and 50 steals, but until Acuña, nobody had ever combined 30 and 60. (Alden Gonzalez)

  • Sept. 8, 2023: Acuna hit his 35th  homer of the season, paving the way for him to become the fifth player in MLB history to have at least 35 home runs and 35 stolen bases in multiple campaigns, per ESPN Stats & Info. The Braves superstar joined the likes of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Willie Mays and Alfonso Soriano as the only other players to do it. Soriano owns the record for the most seasons with such record with three. (Angelo Guinhawa) 

  • Sept. 13, 2023: Ronald Acuña Jr.'s 2023 season has been dominant for the Atlanta Braves and TIME Magazine has even taken note, naming him to its TIME100 Next list. The list recognizes 100 people whom TIME Magazine sees as rising leaders in various industries, including health, the arts, and of course, sports. 

  • On Ronald Acuña Jr. bat-flip bobblehead night at Truist Park, the man himself made sure all 40,695 in attendance got a moment to remember, whether or not they were among 15,000 who received the giveaway souvenir.

    Acuña homered on the first pitch of the first inning, as he is wont to do, giving the Braves a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in a 9-3 win against the Phillies. But the Atlanta superstar was just getting started. 

    He homered again leading off the sixth inning, giving Acuña 39 home runs and moving him within one homer of becoming the fifth player ever to have at least 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in a single season. Familiar chants of  “M-V-P!” filled sold-out Truist Park after each of his home runs as Acuña made his ebullient, flamboyant trot around the bases.

    “The guy, like I’ve said before, is the most talented player on the planet,” said Braves pitcher Spencer Strider, who had 11 strikeouts in seven innings for his majors-leading 18th win in 23 decisions. “Every day (Acuña) does something special.” 

    But this night belonged to Acuña, who got his 38th and 39th homers, his 67th stolen base and his 99th and 100th RBIs, while raising his average to .338 with an NL-leading 1.014 OPS.

    “The ability to go out and get the lead first batter of the game is unbelievable,” said Strider, who was wearing an Acuña 30-60 shirt after the game and noted, “Yeah, he’s going to negate the T-shirt that they made for him pretty quickly, so I thought I’d wear it.” “I just thank God that I’ve been able to stay healthy,” Acuña said through an interpreter. “I’ve said before, being healthy is my primary objective, my main goal. I feel like if I’m healthy, I’m able to do the things that I’m doing.” None of the current 40-40 club members had more than 46 home runs or 46 stolen bases in his 40-40 season. That means one more homer by Acuña will make him not just the fifth member of the 40-40 club, but the only member of the 40-50 and 40-60 clubs. And with one homer and three steals in the Braves’ remaining 11 games, Acuña would become the charter member of — gulp — the 40-70 club. (O'Brien - Sep 19, 2023 - The Athletic)

  • Sept. 22, 2023: He's now the ONLY player with 40 home runs and 60 stolen bases in a single season.

  • Sept 27, 2023: Acuña was all smiles as his two boys, Jamal and Ronald, joined him in the media room following the Braves’ 6-5, 10-inning win over the Cubs at Truist Park. Less than 10 minutes earlier, he had recorded a game-tying single, stolen second base and scored on Ozzie Albies’ walk-off single. The steal was his 70th of the season, making him the first person to create the previously unthinkable 40-70 club.

    “I’d be lying if I told you I thought I was going to get this done,” Acuña said through an interpreter. “It was one of those numbers that wasn’t impossible, but seemed impossible. Thankfully, we were able to get it done.” (M Bowman - MLB.com - Sept 28, 2023)

  • Sept 29, 2023: Acuña stole a base in both the first and second innings to raise his MLB-leading total to 72 steals. This matches the modern era franchise record set by Otis Nixon in 1991.“The numbers speak for themselves,” Braves starting pitcher Allan Winans said. “He’s putting himself in a class by himself.” (M Bowman - MLB.com - Sept 30, 2023)

  •  2023 Season: Ronald Acuña Jr. was selected major league player of the year by Baseball Digest and eBay after hitting 41 home runs and stealing 73 bases for the Atlanta Braves.

    The outfielder beat out two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels, who didn’t play after Sept. 3 because of injuries.

    Acuña batted .337 with a National League-best 1.012 OPS and led the majors in hits (217), runs (149), on-base percentage (.416), total bases (383) and steals. He helped the NL East champion Braves finish with the best record in the majors at 104-58.

    The 25-year-old Acuña not only became the first big league player with 40 homers and 70 stolen bases in a season, he’s the only member of the 30-60 club. (October 3, 2023 7:30PM - AP)

    Acuña Jr. was voted player of the year by fellow major-leaguers in the annual Players Choice Awards of MLBPA.

  • Nov 16, 2023: Acuna won the National League Most Valuable Player Award.

  • Nov. 2023: Acuna has launched exclusive MVP T-shirts under the ACUNA BRAND x MVP COLLECTION. The Braves star unveiled his latest capsule on ACUNA's official e-commerce site on November 23, 2023.

    The newest collection features special MVP T-shirts designed to showcase strong summer aesthetics. This collection will be categorized under MVP 2023 exclusives and is available in a vibrant color palette. (Khushi Srivastava - Modified Nov 25, 2023)

  •  

    Dec. 18, 2023: National League Most Valuable Player Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves was named the recipient of the 2023 Hank Aaron Awards for the NL.



    TRANSACTIONS

  • July 2, 2014: Acuna signed with the Braves for $100,000, via scout Polando Petit.

  • April 2, 2019:  Ronald announced his eight-year, $100 million contract extension. It includes a $17 million option and $10 million buyout for both the 2027 and 2028 seasons. If he lives up to expectations, the $124 million he would receive over the next 10 years will be viewed as a team-friendly deal.
Batting
  • Acuna has a balanced, well-rounded skill set, with a chance for five average to plus tools. He’s a quick-twitch athlete with a strong, projectable build. Ronald has many strengths, and few glaring weaknesses. He is going to be an All-Star multiple times. 

    He's the rare prospect who actually carries future 60 (or better) grades on the 20-80 scale for all five tools. Acuna is a 70 runner with 70 defense. He has a 60 arm and a 60 hit tool. Many scouts project him to future 70 power.

    While his body is still developing, he has plus raw power and barrels pitches consistently with his above-average bat speed. Those traits should allow him to hit for average at higher levels. He already uses the whole field.

    In 2017, Ronald was probably the top power-speed prospect in the minors. And it is getting harder and harder for pitchers to strike him out. Acuna already shows an ability to lay off breaking balls and velocity out of the zone. When he gets a pitch to hit, Acuna has extremely fast hands with strong wrists that whip the bat through the zone with excellent bat speed. He already generates exceptional exit velocities, which should pay off with 25-30 home runs once he matures.  (Spring 2018)

  • Ronald is advanced at the plate, with good bat control to consistently make hard contact. He has impressive plate discipline—he works the count with an aggressive, but under control, approach. He has sneaky pop with good leverage in his swing. His outstanding bat speed, hammering fastballs to all fields.

  • He drives the ball to both gaps with authority. More power is on the way. (April 2016)

  • Ronald has quick hands and an aggressive swing, but has advanced plate discipline. He barrels pitches consistently and shows excellent raw power to the gaps, that should generate extra-base power as his body matures.

    Acuna projects as a gap-to-gap hitter and profiles as a table setter.

    "I need to be more consistent with my approach, because the pitching and the competition is better,” Ronald said. “I also have to be more patient at the plate in order to hit my pitches instead of the pitcher’s pitches.” (Spring 2016)

  • In 2017, Acuna's approach improved greatly. And the Braves front office noticed. “It was the approach,” Braves assistant farm director Jonathan Schuerholz said. “You see him laying off breaking balls out of the zone, he’s swinging at fastballs, he’s hitting balls hard when he is getting pitches to hit."

    One reason Acuna has been able to handle everything thrown at him is he knew what to expect. His father Ron was a Mets outfield prospect in the late 1990s and early 2000s and played eight seasons in the minors, topping out at Double-A. Growing up in Venezuela, Acuna got a crash course from his father on what was truly needed to be a successful ballplayer.

    “It meant a lot having a dad who played the game, a lot of experience,” Acuna said. “Every time I’m doing something wrong, I can relay it to my dad, and he can tell me I need to do things this way or that way.” (Kyle Glaser - Baseball America - 10/06/2017)

  • Acuna provides most of his value offensively. He is aggressive at the plate and on the base paths, but the righthanded batter displays solid discipline for such a young player.

    “Ronald has bat speed as well as an advanced ability to recognize pitches,” farm director Dave Trembley said. “He doesn’t expand his strike zone, and he uses the entire field to hit.”

    His power is equally enticing. Acuna generates raw power in his lower half while possessing strong hands and quick wrists. (Bill Ballew - Baseball America - 6/23/2017)

  • May 8, 2018: Acuna's third-inning solo shot was the latest of the three homers tallied within his first 50 career at-bats. At 20 years, 141 days old, Acuna is the youngest player to homer in a 1-0 game since 1935 (Phil Cavarretta). (Mark Bowman - MLB.com - May 2018)

  • August 13, 2018: Acuna became just the fourth player in MLB history to lead off both games of a doubleheader with a home run.

  • August 14, 2018: Having routinely displayed an easygoing, youthful innocence throughout these early months of his blossoming career, Ronald understood he was in the midst of something special when he actually felt nervous before his first plate appearance in a 10-6 win over the Marlins at SunTrust Park.  "[I was nervous] just because I wasn't sure I would be able to hit another home run like that," Acuna said through an interpreter.

    Acuna needed just one pitch to amaze himself and the countless others who have been bewildered by what he has proven capable of doing at just age 20. He turned on Trevor Richards' first-pitch fastball, watched it sail over the left-field wall and instantly became the youngest player in Major League history to homer in five consecutive games.

    "At first, I laughed a lot, and then I got nervous again," Acuna said, when asked for his reaction to the solo shot that also made him the first player since Brady Anderson in 1999 to hit a leadoff homer in three consecutive games. 

    Acuna's nerves didn't prevent him from adding to the splendor of his evening with a three-run, seventh-inning homer off Adam Conley. The no-doubt, opposite-field liner capped his third three-hit performance within a six-game span and provided him his first multi-homer contest.

    "I'm sitting there thinking, 'Wow, this is something else,'" Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "You're experiencing it and enjoying a young kid with a lot of talent having fun playing baseball." 

    "He's the best leadoff hitter I've ever seen," Ender Inciarte said. "He's the best player I've ever seen. He's just unbelievable. Hopefully, he's going to continue to help us in the long run because we just want to go to the playoffs."  (Bowman - mlb.com)

  • September 2, 2018: Ronald has put together a special rookie season, and with another leadoff home run in the Braves' 5-1 win over the Pirates, it became historic.  Acuna took Pirates starter Nick Kingham deep to left field on a 1-0 fastball up and in, which gave him seven leadoff home runs this season. That tied him with Marquis Grissom (1997) for the most by a Braves player in a single season.

    The blast also moved Acuna into a tie for the second-most leadoff homers by a rookie with Nomar Garciaparra (1997) and Hanley Ramirez (2006). Chris Young holds the record with nine leadoff homers in 2007.

    "You read that stuff on the board, and I'm sitting here watching it, and I don't realize it's that good," manager Brian Snitker said. "You want to make sure you're up there because you might miss something when he's at the plate." (Weinrib - mlb.com)

  • September 5, 2018: Acuna set a franchise record by drilling his eighth leadoff homer of the year.

  • September 9, 2018: Ronald Acuna Jr. added to his second-half power surge and became just the seventh player to tally 25 homers in a season before turning 21 years old.

  • October 8, 2018: The 20-year-old's second-inning grand slam gave the Braves an early five-run lead that propelled them to a 6-5 victory against the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLDS, staving off elimination at SunTrust Park.

    And in so doing, he became the youngest player to hit a grand slam in the postseason, ahead of Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle.

  • In 2018, Acuna became the youngest player (age 20) known to have homered in five straight games and seven of eight, finishing the season with 26.

  • 2018 season: Key stat: 46.6 percent hard-hit rate. Acuna, who turned 21 last week, knows how to make an entrance. In 111 games, he helped lift Atlanta to a surprising division title, and beat out Soto for NL Rookie of the Year, by batting .293/.366/.552 with 26 homers and 16 steals. Both Acuna's hard-hit rate and average sprint speed (29.6 ft/sec) ranked near the top of MLB. After the All-Star break, only Christian Yelich, Manny Machado and Matt Chapman made hard contact (95-plus mph exit velocity) more times than Acuna's 92. (Andrew Simon -MLB.com- December 27, 2018)

  • January 19, 2019: How the Braves construct their lineup will depend on who is acquired or selected to fill their outfield void. But Ronald admits his preference is to remain at the top of Atlanta's lineup.

    "Obviously, I do enjoy batting leadoff, but it's not my decision," Acuna said through an interpreter. "It's up to the coaches and manager to decide whatever is best for the team."

    Acuna's rise toward capturing the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2018 began on July 20, when he moved to the leadoff spot and proceeded to hit .322 with 19 homers and a 1.028 OPS over the 68 games that followed. The 20-year-old phenom's second-half success served as one of the primary reasons Atlanta won the NL East.

  • April 15, 2019: Acuña won the NL Player of the Week Award. Acuna had a .545 batting average, going 12-for-22 on the week as well for the Braves. He hit three homers and knocked in nine runs as the Braves went 4-2 over the course of the week.

  • May 11, 2019: The 21-year-old outfielder swatted a 464-foot, tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning to lift the Braves to a 2-1 win over the D-backs at Chase Field. It was the longest homer hit by an Atlanta player since Statcast began tracking in 2015, and with a 112.7 mph exit velocity, Acuna instantly knew it was gone.

  • August 13, 2019:  Ronald strengthened his resume in a 5-3 win over the Mets at SunTrust Park. Acuna homered for the seventh time in his past seven games and further backed Max Fried's strong start by denying a run with a 99.1-mph throw to the plate.  (His 34 homers are the second most hit by a Braves player 21 or younger, trailing only Eddie Mathews, who hit 47 in 1953.)

    “He can do it all on a baseball field,” Braves catcher Brian McCann said. “He makes it all look easy.”  (Bowman - mlb.com)

  • In 2019, Acuña won his first Silver Slugger Award. He became the youngest player to hit 40 or more homers and steal 30 or more bases. He posted an .883 OPS as one of the key sluggers who led Atlanta to a second straight NL East championship.

  • 2019 Season: Acuña is one of seven players to tally two 25-homer seasons at 21 or younger, and his 67 homers stand as the fourth-highest total produced by any player before his 22-year-old season. The only other players to reach that total at that age were Mel Ott (86 in 1,724 at-bats), Tony Conigliaro (84 in 1,483 at-bats), Eddie Mathews (72 in 1,107 at-bats) and Frank Robinson (67 in 1,183 at-bats).

  • Feb 12, 2020: Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies was not surprised when Ronald Acuña Jr. arrived at Spring Training and said he is aiming for what would be the first 50-50 season in Major League history.

    “He’s my good friend,” Albies said. “We always talk about how he’s going to be better every day. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be even better than last year.”

    Acuña fell three stolen bases shy of recording what would have been just the fifth 40-40 season in MLB history. Still, as he belted 41 homers and tallied 37 steals, he joined Mike Trout (2012) as the only players 21 or younger to record a 30-30 season.

    As Acuña spent most of this offseason in his native Venezuela, he looked forward to the chance to strengthen the elite status he has gained through his first two Major League campaigns. The 22-year-old outfielder to date has produced a .897 OPS. The only players to construct a higher number at 21 or younger are Ted Williams (1.041), Jimmie Foxx (1.015), Mel Ott (.986), Trout (.948), Frank Robinson (.920), Eddie Mathews (.907) and Alex Rodriguez (.900).

    “I don’t want to stay complacent,” Acuña said through an interpreter. “I’ve always strived for more. That’s the way I’ve always been. I don’t want to conform to what has gotten me to where I am so far. I just strive to get better and better as my career goes on.” (M Bowman - MLB.com - Feb 12, 2020)

  • May 2020: The Braves have played 810 games since Statcast began tracking home run distances in 2015, and Acuña has been in about 33 percent of them. But a quick perusal of Baseball Savant will show you that the young slugger owns 6 of Atlanta’s 10 longest home runs since then. And among Acuña’s team-high 41 homers last year, the average distance was 418 feet. The only Major Leaguer to hit at least 20 home runs and produce a higher number was Mike Trout at 419 feet.

    It’s also worth noting that Acuña was one of just eight Major Leaguers last year to produce a 15 percent barrel rate while putting a ball in play at least 300 times. The Braves’ 22-year-old outfielder possesses a swing that not only generates power, but also allows him to do damage to all fields. He ranked second among righthanders last year with five opposite-field home runs. Those five blasts averaged 426 feet, which was one foot shorter than the average distance of the 14 homers he pulled to left.  – Mark Bowman

  • Sept 4, 2020: Ronald once again announced his return in an authoritative manner and matched a Braves franchise record in the process. Acuña tallied his fifth career multi-homer game and tied a franchise record for leadoff home runs as the Braves claimed a 7-1 win over the Nationals in the first game of a doubleheader at Truist Park.

    “He kind of picked up where he left off, and that’s good for us,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

    Sitting back at the top of Atlanta’s lineup after missing this week’s three-game series in Boston with a tight right hamstring, Acuña opened the bottom of the first with his 17th career leadoff homer. This shot off Austin Voth matched the franchise record Felipe Alou set while serving as the Braves' leadoff hitter from 1964-69.

    Alou batted leadoff 633 times for the Braves. Acuña matched this mark in just his 209th game as a leadoff hitter.

    Told about this record, Snitker provided a self-deprecating response regarding his decision to move Acuña to the cleanup spot for the first six weeks of the 2019 season.

    “He’s done a great job up there,” Snitker said. “Some [dummy] kept him out of the leadoff role last year.” (M Bowman - MLB.com - Sept 4, 2020)

    LEAD-OFF HOMERS

  • Sept. 5, 2020: Acuña set a Braves franchise record when he belted his 18th career lead-off homer during a 10-4 loss to the Nationals at Truist Park.

  • April 6, 2021: With a lead-off homer, the leadoff legend of Ronald Acuña Jr. grew. He has the most lead-off home runs before the age of 24, with 20.  Hanley Ramirez had 15 and Barry Bonds hit 13.
  • Sept. 26, 2020: Per Statcast, Acuña's leadoff homer off Red Sox starter Chris Mazza traveled 495 feet, the longest Braves homer ever tracked by Statcast. And the longest of any player in 2020.

  • Nov 5, 2020: Acuña picked up his second straight Silver Slugger after posting a .406 on-base percentage and .581 slugging percentage—both the best of his young career. Along with his .987 OPS, the 22-year-old roped 14 homers and swiped 8 bases in just 46 games.

  • Dec 9, 2020: Acuña was a Second Team selection to the 2020 All-MLB Team.

    Though he missed two weeks with a left wrist ailment that developed in August and continued being problematic into October, Acuña still ranked second among all Major League outfielders with 46 runs scored. The young outfielder hit .250 with 14 homers and a .987 OPS.

  • April 9, 2021: Acuña hit a monstrous home run, made a tremendous catch, added a pair of doubles and notched his fifth career four-hit game to back an impressive start by Charlie Morton, who allowed just one run over six innings. The night belonged to Acuña, who led the Braves to their third straight win.

    “That just shows you the complete player he is and the skillset this kid has and what he brings,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Then he beats out a close play. He showed it all tonight. He didn’t have any throwing assists or anything. But he did everything else.” (M Bowman - MLB.com - April 9, 2021)

  • April 19, 2021:  Acuña were recognized for his success, as he named the NL Player of the Week.  Acuña has now won NL Player of the Week three times in his young career. The 23-year-old outfielder batted .385/.515/.846 across seven games, racking up seven walks, a double, a triple, three home runs, eight RBIs, 13 runs scored and a stolen base.

  • April 2021: Acuña was named the season's first Player of the Month.

    Acuña hit .341/.443/.705 with eight home runs, three stolen bases, 18 RBIs and 25 runs scored in 24 games over the first month of the season. He scored 20 runs in the Braves' first 15 games, the most in franchise history. And the most by anyone through 15 games since Alex Rodriguez had 20 runs scored for the Yankees in 2007, when he went on to win the AL Most Valuable Player Award.

    The 23-year-old is a Player of the Month for the first time in his career, and he's the second straight Braves player to take home the award. Fellow Atlanta star Freddie Freeman was the final NL Player of the Month Award winner of the 2020 season, winning in September. (D Adler - MLB.com - May 3, 2021)

  • June 11, 2021:  Acuña notched a pair of doubles, including one for his 400th career hit,

  • June 20, 2021: Ronald Jr. hit his 100th homer in the Braves' win in the second game of a doubleheader.  According to MLB Stats, he becomes the fifth player to total 100 homers and 70 stolen bases before turning 24 years old.

  • Nov 28, 2022: Ronald put on a show alongside a handful of fellow Major Leaguers in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League Home Run Derby at Estadio Universitario de Caracas.

    Acuña, who participated in the T-Mobile MLB Home Run Derby in 2019 and 2022, hit the winning homer with more than a minute remaining on the clock. As soon as the decisive shot cleared the wall, he took off running onto the field and was mobbed by spectators and competitors in a celebration that spread into the outfield.

    Acuña edged out Giants prospect Diego Rincones in the final round. The 10-player tournament also included big leaguers Willson Contreras, Eduardo Escobar, William Contreras, Eugenio Suárez, Jose Altuve, Gleyber Torres and Juan Yepez. Former Minor Leaguer and current Mexican League slugger Balbino Fuenmayor rounded out the field. (P Casella - MLB.com - Nov 28, 2022)

  • June 16, 2023: Ronald Acuna - the Atlanta outfielder set the AL/NL mark with 15+ HRs, 30+ SBs through first 70 games of a season.

  • Nov. 2023: The 25-year-old Acuña won a third Silver Slugger in the wake of his unprecedented 41-homer, 73-steal season. His special blend of power and speed grabbed headlines, but his maturation as a hitter shouldn’t be overlooked. Acuña reduced his strikeout rate by more than half in the span of a year, from 23.6% to 11.4%. That played a significant role in his .416 on-base percentage, which led the Majors.
Fielding
  • Ronald has the speed to cover a lot of center field, rating a plus defender (60 to 65 grade).

  • Acuna has a 70 arm.

    "Don't run on Ronald!" can be heard before a team takes on the Braves. "Don't run on Acuna!" and that's because he has been clocked as high as 96.7 mph—from an outfielder, not a pitcher!

  • Ronald gets solid reads off the bat and takes good routes to balls in the gaps. He anticipates where the ball will be hit to go with his superb first-step quickness

    He has well above-average arm strength with accuracy and carry on his throws. But, Acuna must improve his decision-making on his throws. (Spring 2018)

  • Acuna plays all three outfield positions.

  • May 2020: Johan Camargo's arm has drawn attention since his days as a Spring Training non-roster invitee taking infield alongside Andrelton Simmons. But while Camargo has the best arm among Atlanta's infielders, Acuña boasts not only the team's best arm, but also arguably the best among all MLB outfielders.

    He recorded four assists over 199 2/3 innings in right field last year. That's one every 49.9 innings. The Phillies' Bryce Harper recorded an assist once every 101.4 innings while leading all MLB right fielders with 13 assists in 2019.  –Mark Bowman
Running
  • Acuna is very fast, earning 70 grades on his speed tool.

    With his top-of-the-scale speed, Acuna is an excellent baserunner and prolific base-stealer, albeit an inefficient one. Acuna, needs to become a more efficient base-stealer, and is working on stealing so he can have a major impact on the bases. (Spring 2018)

  • He showed plus speed in center field and on the bases, and should be a stolen-base threat at higher levels. He has become an intelligent base runner and stealer. He has excellent first-step quickness and outstanding instincts in all phases of the game. (Spring 2017)

  • In 2019 with the Braves, Acuna stole 37 bases.

  • In 2021 and 2022 combined, he was successful in 46 of 63 attempts. That's a 73 percent success rate.

  • July 4, 2023: Today marks the 13th consecutive game that Ronald Acuña Jr. of the @Braves has either hit a home run or stolen a base. That's the longest streak by any MLB player in the modern era, surpassing the 12 straight by Oakland's Bert Campaneris in 1969 (entirely on stolen bases). (OptaSTATS)   

  • Aug 28, 2023: Acuña hit his 29th homer in the fifth inning, stole his 60th base in the seventh and then increased his MLB-leading stolen-base total to 61 in the eighth inning. He now stands as one of four players to hit 20-plus homers and steal 60-plus bases in the same season.

  • Sept. 29, 2023: Acuña stole a base in both the first and second innings to raise his MLB-leading total to 72 steals. This matches the modern era franchise record set by Otis Nixon in 1991. 


  • Oct 2nd, 2023 : Acuna finishes the 2023 regular season with 73 stolen bases, a Braves franchise record. 
Career Injury Report
  • May 12-August 22, 2016: Acuna was on the DL with a broken thumb. He ended up having surgery for it and was healthy for only 40 games that year.

  • May 28-June 28, 2018: Acuna was on the DL with left knee contusion and mild ACL sprain.

  • September 26, 2019: Acuña was diagnosed with a minor left groin strain.

    “The doctors looked at him and felt it was best to just shut him down until the playoffs,” Snitker said. “It’s biting him a little bit. Just to be on the safe side, he’s not going to play any more games in the regular season.”

  • Aug 11-25, 2020: Acuña went on IL with left wrist inflammation.

  • Aug 30, 2020: Less than a week after activating Ronald Acuña Jr. from the injured list, the Braves will once again have to take a cautious approach with him. Acuña was removed after he felt right hamstring tightness during the 10-run second inning that carried the Braves to a 12-10 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

    Initially, it looked like Acuña may have felt the discomfort while scoring from second base on Freddie Freeman’s single during the second. But he actually began feeling the tightness while playing defense in the first inning.

    “If you push that, something bad is going to happen,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We’ll just see how he progresses.”

  • Sept 11, 2020: Snitker was obviously happy to reveal Ronald Acuña Jr. might be available to play. The 22-year-old outfielder had to be helped off the field after bruising his left ankle in the fourth inning of this four-hour, 48-minute battle, which stands as MLB’s longest game of the season.

    “They said he wasn’t that bad right now,” Snitker said.

    This encouraging update was not expected when Acuña had to drape his arms around Snitker and assistant trainer Mike Frostad just to get off the field after fouling an Erick Fedde pitch off his left ankle. But by the time the Braves outfielder got to the clubhouse, he was able to walk without assistance to get X-rays, which showed no fracture.

  • April 16, 2021: The Braves announced that an MRI showed Acuña’s abdominal strain is mild. He is listed as day-to-day.

    Acuña exited the 13-4 win over the Cubs after sliding headfirst across the plate on Travis d’Arnaud's sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. During that same trip around the bases, Acuña had pointed to his stomach a couple times after diving back to first base on pickoff attempts. 

    After sliding into home, Acuña remained on the ground momentarily and then grabbed his abdominal region as he walked back to the dugout.  The MRI on showed just a mild strain.

  • July 11-Nov 22, 2021: Acuna went on the IL with a right ACL tear. 

    July 20, 2021: Acuña Jr. underwent surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

    Nov 22, 2021: Acuña took some swings in the batting cage. He missed half of the 2021 season after sustaining a torn ACL in July. He's expected to return in 2022.

    March 13, 2022: Expected return is April. Acuña has seemingly made a full recovery from the torn right ACL he suffered on July 10. The young superstar took batting practice on a regular basis over the past few months.  

    “The reports are really, really good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “But we won’t have a timeline until we get him here, and they evaluate him. 

    March 25, 2022: Acuña is targeted to return during the first week of May. To give him time to ease back into full-time duties, he will initially be used as both an outfielder and designated hitter.

    April 4-28, 2022: Acuña will spend the season’s first three weeks continuing to recover and rehab from the torn right ACL tear he suffered on July 10. The outfielder was expected to be activated during the first week of May. 

  • May 11, 2022: Acuña missed the game against the Red Sox after tweaking his right groin the previous night. He started favoring his leg after recording a fourth-inning single on May 10.

    “He’s been busy on the bases,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s just a maintenance thing more than anything, trying to make sure it doesn’t become something.” 

    May 13, 2022: Acuña missed a second straight game when the Braves allowed him to rest his right groin during the series opener against the Padres in Atlanta. The outfielder took batting practice in the indoor batting cage and said he hopes to play soon.

  • May 25, 2022:  Ronald was scratched from lineup with right quad tightness. Acuña woke up feeling right quad discomfort, and was still sore when he ran the bases before the game against the Phillies. The Braves scratched him instead of risking him worsening the ailment in wet conditions. He was day-to-day.

  • Aug 28, 2022: Acuña felt some sharp pains in his surgically repaired right knee this past week and he has dealt with occasional soreness since returning from a torn right ACL near the end of April. Acuña said his knee has bothered him more running than hitting. The Braves have told the outfielder the lingering pain is expected while coming back from this injury. 

  • Sept 23, 2022: Acuña was out of the lineup for a second straight day as he continues to deal with lower back tightness.  Acuña’s back began bothering him while he prepared for the series opener against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Ronald said that rotating his hips creates the most significant discomfort.

  • May 1, 2023: Acuña exited the game after he was hit in the left shoulder by Tylor Megill’s 93.4 mph fastball. The outfielder spent a little more than a minute sitting in the grass near the batter’s box grabbing his shoulder in pain while being attended to by the training staff before heading to the clubhouse for further evaluation.

    Initial X-rays taken at Citi Field were negative, leading the Braves to announce the outfielder was just dealing with a left shoulder contusion.