The Atlanta Braves announced yesterday that Ronald Acuna Jr. would be done for the regular season with a left groin strain. The Braves, however, are optimistic Acuna will be ready for the playoffs next Thursday.
After Acuna was pulled from Tuesday’s opening game with the Royals, news came down that Acuna would be sat for the remainder of the regular season with a left groin pull to heal up in time for the playoffs. This move by the Braves is the team being extremely cautious with their young superstar. The good news is Acuna will not be restricted from baseball activities, throwing and swinging a bat, but will sit for the final three games of the regular season.
The most important thing moving forward, for the Braves and Acuna, is to assure the healthiness of one of their most important players when it comes to the playoffs next week. With Freddie Freeman dealing with an elbow ailment, the Braves would rather be extra vigilant in regards to these injuries rather than push the players in playing in, somewhat, meaningless games. With that said, Acuna’s quest for a 40-40 season will come up short, ending the season with 41 home runs and 37 stolen bases.
Acuna will not be joining the shortlist of players to reach the 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases club that only a select few, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, and Alfonso Soriano, have ever achieved. At the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter to Acuna that he won’t get those last three stolen bases, but it would have been nice to immortalize what has been such an incredible season for Ronald Acuna. Luckily, for Braves fans and Acuna, it’s likely he will have many more seasons to reach those stellar heights again. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him near the 40-40 club as soon as next season.
Even without the 40-40 club entry, Acuna’s season will go down as one of the most special season’s in Braves history. With 41 home runs this year, Acuna hit for more home runs than any Braves player since Andruw Jones hit 51 in 2005. Acuna also had the most stolen bases, 37, since Michael Borun stole 42 in 2012. Acuna led the NL in runs scored, with 127, and had the most plate appearances, at-bats, and stolen bases. Acuna won’t win the NL MVP but expect to see him getting some talk after this incredible season.
As fun as it’s been watching Acuna accumulate his monster stats all season, the priority, rightly so, are the playoffs. With the NL East wrapped up and NL Central champion unable to catch up, the Braves have little to play for in these last three games other than stuffing stats and trying to reach 100 wins as a team. Acuna can take his much-deserved rest until next week’s playoff game. It’s fair to say he’s earned it after his spectacular season.