Atlanta Aquinas, ML First-Time Standouts
First 20-40-50 before All-Star break
Poised to make 30-homer, 60-double history
Leads team with 57 wins, 28 losses and a first-place winning percentage
“When Ronald Acuña Jr. (26-Atlanta) is at bat, you never leave your seat. If you think, ‘I can get a beer,’ or ‘I can go to the bathroom,’ you’re going to miss a piece of history.”
That’s what Brian Snitker, manager of Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves, said after the team’s 4-2 win over visiting Cleveland on Thursday. True to his word, history was made in the top of the third inning. Acuña Jr. singled and promptly stole second base. The steal, his 40th of the season, made him the first player in MLB history to record 20 home runs, 40 doubles and 50 RBI before the All-Star break.
Acuña Jr. also batted leadoff in the team’s 5-6 loss to Cleveland on Friday, going 2-for-4 with a double and stealing second base in the fifth inning. On the season, he’s batting .337 with 21 home runs, 41 doubles, 54 RBIs, and a 1.013 OPS. He leads the National League (NL) in stolen bases and OPS, is second in batting average, and seventh in home runs.
Game 5 was Atlanta’s 85th game of the season. No player has ever hit 20 home runs and 40 steals in a team’s 85th game. The closest player to do so is Rickey Henderson (65), who holds the record for most career steals (1406). Henderson had 15 homers and 50 steals in 1986 and 17 homers and 41 steals in 1990.
At his current pace, Aquino Jr. could become the first player in MLB history to join the 30-homer, 60-steal club. Only two other players have ever hit 30+ homers and 50+ steals in a season. Barry Bonds (59), MLB’s all-time home run leader (762), hit 33 homers and 52 steals in 1990 while playing for Pittsburgh, and Eric Davis (61) hit 37 homers and 50 steals in 1987 for Cincinnati.카지노
The Venezuelan-born Acuña Jr. is something of a “pearl in the dirt” player. Born into a baseball family where both his grandfather and father were minor leaguers, he signed with Atlanta as an international free agent in 2014 at age 17 for just $100,000. After three years in the minors starting in 2015, he made his big league debut in 2018, batting .293 with 26 home runs, 64 RBIs and 16 stolen bases and was named Rookie of the Year.
Atlanta signed Acuña Jr. to an eight-year, $100 million contract in April of the following year, after he had played less than a year in the MLB. Acuña Jr. hit 41 homers and 37 doubles that year, nearly breaking into the 40-homer, 40-double club. Through five days, his MLB career numbers are 141 HR-148 RBI and he is on pace to become the second player in history to join the 500 HR-500 RBI club after Bonds (762 HR-514 RBI).
Thanks to his offensive, defensive, and base-running prowess, Atlanta is currently 57-28 (.671 winning percentage), good for first place among all 30 MLB teams. Barring any upsets, he is a lock for NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors this season. “I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going for me and my team this season,” Aquino said.