Ronald Acuna 2020 Season Recap

Here are notes on Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna for his 2020 season
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Ronald Acuña Jr. finished his second full major league season, hitting .250 (40-for-160) in 46 games, with careerbests in on-base percentage (.406) and slugging percentage (.581)…He hit 14 home runs and drove in 29. • N.L. ranks: AB/HR (11.43, 1st), OPS (.987, 5th), on-base % (.406, 7th), slugging % (.581, 8th) and walks (38, T6th). • Batted in the leadoff spot all 46 games he played, and hit four leadoff home runs…Only the Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu had more (5). 

Has 19 leadoff homers in his career, the most in franchise history… Felipe Alou held the previous record with 17 such home runs… Alou led off for Atlanta in 633 games, while Acuña Jr. broke the record, hitting his 18th career leadoff homer on September 5 vs. Washington in his 210th game atop the Braves lineup…That was his 293rd career game, and no player in major league history had more leadoff homers through their first 300 career games. 

It was Acuña Jr.’s third season…That is also the most leadoff homers through that a player’s first three seasons in history…Barry Bonds held the previous record, hitting 16 in his first three seasons (‘86- 88).

One of his leadoff home runs came on August 26 in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Yankees…He took Gerrit Cole deep, hitting a homer that traveled a projected 473 feet, the second longest of his career, and the second longest by a Braves player in the Statcast era (since ’15). 

His only longer career home run was another leadoff homer, on September 25 off Boston’s Chris Mazza…It went to the back row of the left-field bleachers, traveling a projected 495 feet, the longest homer in the majors this season and the farthest homer ever hit at Truist Park…There have been just four longer homers since Statcast was introduced (Mazara, Stanton, Sanó and Judge). 

Half of his home runs (7) this season came in six doubleheader games…He twice hit three home runs in a doubleheader, doing so on August 9 at Philadelphia and September 4 vs. Washington…He is first Braves player to hit three homers in a doubleheader twice in a season since Joe Torre in 1965 and 1967. 

Before Acuña, the last Braves player with three home runs in a doubleheader was OF David Justice on August 7, 1990…Justice hit a solo shot in game one, before going 4-for-4 with two home runs in the nightcap...Justice also hit two more home runs the following day… Acuña Jr. has now homered in both ends of a doubleheader three times in his career (also, August 13, 2018 against Miami). 

Featured among his 14 home runs were his 70th and 80th career homers…His 70th came in Game 2 of a doubleheader on August 9 at Philadelphia, in his 248th career game…He became the third quickest player to 70 home runs by games played in franchise history, trailing Bob Horner (260 games) and Eddie Mathews (283). • He hit his 80th homer on August 20 at NYM, in his 307th game, and only six players in the history of the game reached that total in fewer games played (DiMaggio, Horner, Howard, Judge, Klein, Sanchez). 

He drew 38 walks, tied for the sixth most in the N.L., despite playing in fewer games than everyone ahead of him…Acuña had 23 walks in September, the fourth most in the league. • His 18.8% walk rate was fourth in the majors, trailing Juan Soto (20.9%), Bryce Harper (20.1%) and Aaron Hicks (19.4%)...This total was nearly double his previous career best (’19, 10.6%). • Drew a walk in a career-most six straight games, from August 2-8. 

Reached base safely four or more times in five games this season, one off the major league lead held by four players including teammate Freddie Freeman…Since his debut year in 2018, he has reached safely in a game at least four times on 35 occasions. • Played in his 300th career game on September 12 at Washington…Had 78 home runs and 58 stolen bases at the time of the game…Is the only player in major league history to reach 75 home runs and 50 stolen bases by his 300th career game.

Had career bests in average exit velocity (92.4) and hard-hit rate (57.0%), the latter of which was fourth in the majors (Tatis Jr, 62.2%; d’Arnaud, 57.8% and Sano: 57.3%). • Made his second career Opening Day start...At 22, became youngest Braves OF to start consecutive Opening Day games since Andruw Jones, who started three straight from 1997-99 (Age 19-21). 

In the Braves’ 29-9 win over Miami on September 9, had a single, double, home run, and drew three walks…Became the fourth player in the N.L. since 1901 to record at least three hits, three walks and five RBI in a game, and the first to do so since the Reds’ Sean Casey on 5/19/99 at COL (4 H, 3 BB, 6 RBI, 5 R). 

Was on the injured list from August 15, retroactive to August 12, to August 25 with left wrist inflammation…Missed 10 games and the Braves went 5-5 (.500) in those games. 

For more Atlanta Braves coverage, listen to The Bill Shanks Show weekdays at 3:00 p.m. ET on SportsRadio 93.1 FM WXKO TheSuperStations.com. Follow Bill on Twitter @billshanks and email him at TheBillShanksShow@yahoo.com.