He's the Braves player to win NL Rookie of the Year since Craig Kimbrel in 2011.

By Alaa Abdeldaiem
November 12, 2018

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. was named the 2018 National League Rookie of the Year on Monday night.

After a contested race between finalists Acuna, Nationals slugger Juan Soto and Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler, Acuna emerged as the award's winner with 27 first-place votes. Soto received two first-place votes, while Buehler received one. 

Acuna's performance this season was integral in the Braves' resurgence as the top team in the NL East, a division that Soto's Nationals were once predicted to win. He made his debut on April 25, helping the Braves win seven of the first eight games of his career. In 433 plate appearances across 111 games, the 20-year-old outfielder either led or tied for first among NL rookies in homers (26), slugging percentage (.552) and WAR (3.7).

Acuna was especially strong during the second half of the season, where he hit .322 with 19 homers and a 1.028 OPS. From July 31 to Aug. 15, Acuna tallied a league-best nine homers and a 1.357 OPS, turning Atlanta's half-game deficit to a two-game division lead in that time span. 

Acuna's eight leadoff home runs are a Braves franchise record. Acuna is also just the 10th player and the first since Mike Trout to have at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bases in his rookie season. 

Acuna is the eighth Braves player to win Rookie of the Year honors and the first since Craig Kimbrel's win in 2011.

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