Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. broke out in a big way in 2019 after winning Rookie of the Year in 2018. He finished as the most valuable hitter based on SIscore (12.36), which was aided by his five-tool skill set. My first impression, and frankly I was surprised last year by his high strikeout rate (26.3). During his albeit short minor league career, he made better contact (21.3 percent). That said, he will take plenty of walks (10.6 percent).
Acuña crushes it with a strong AVH (1.851) and CTBA (.400), but these were a slight step-back in each category last season. In August, he was very good (.270 with 11 HRs and 27 RBI over 115 at-bats) with a productive performance in June (.331 with nine HRs, 21 RBI, and six SBs over 124 at-bats). He had a floor of five home runs every month. Over the second half of the 2019 season, Acuña hit .263 with 20 home runs, 48 RBI, and 24 stolen bases over 266 at-bats with more regression in his strikeout rate (30.4). He’ll need to show improvement here. His hard-hit rate (46.9) ranked 35th overall, and it showed with improvement in his HR/FB ratio (24.8).
Atlanta said he would start the year hitting first in the batting order, which invites a much lower total of RBI chances. His RBI rate (18) is middle of the order ready. Acuña is an obviously explosive player with room for growth in batting average assuming he makes better contact and gets his strikeout rate under control. You should be looking to buy his edge in runs with the high floor in power and speed. Acuña will be drafted as the top hitter in 2020 and should be the first pick in the majority of drafts despite the concerns and up-and-down performance of his batting average.
READ MORE: 2020 Atlanta Braves Fantasy Team Preview