On Monday night, in Cleveland, Ronald Acuna Jr. took part in the Home Run Derby. Acuna didn’t win, but he did put the league on notice of what a special player he is.
The headlines from the Home Run Derby will go to Pete Alonso and Vlad Guerrero Jr. Alonso, the Mets rookie slugger, won the entire competition. Guerrero, another rookie slugger, was the “Peoples Champ” however. Guerrero made history last night by hitting 91 home runs, smashing the previous record of 61 held by Giancarlo Stanton. And those guys deserve the headlines, but what Ronald Acuna Jr. did last night made him be noticed among the memorable performances that took place on Monday night.
Ronald Acuna Jr. became the first Braves ever to advance out of the first round of any Home Run Derby, no matter the format of the competition. Acuna did that by hitting 25 home runs in the first round, smashing Freddie Freeman’s Braves record of 12 in a single round of a Home Run Derby. Unfortunately, Acuna did not become the first Braves player to ever win the Home Run Derby. Acuna was eliminated by Pete Alonso in the second round.
Acuna may not have won the Home Run Derby, but the display of skill and power he put on while he was hitting was impossible not to notice. Acuna was flicking home runs to the opposite field with the ease Braves fans have become accustomed to seeing. However, for the national audience, Acuna put on a show they weren’t expecting. Josh Bell, Acuna’s first-round opponent, was a heavy favorite going in, but Acuna’s 25 home runs were too much for Bell to overcome. Acuna’s power and skill being on full display last night is going to be the thing that will vault him into the national conversation, a place he rightfully deserves to be.
Acuna will get another chance to put on an impressive display at the All-Star game. Tonight, Acuna will be joined by Freddie Freeman, Mike Soroka, and manager Brian Snitker. Acuna will be batting 9th and Freeman will be batting third. Soroka will not be starting the game, but don’t be surprised to see him early in this game. The All-Star game will start tonight at 7:30.