Acuna went 1-for-3 with a walk in Wednesday’s win over Tampa Bay. His at-bats gave reason to believe he’s nearing a breakout, according to manager Brian Snitker and first baseman Freddie Freeman.
“I was really encouraged yesterday,” Snitker said. “Some of the at-bats yesterday. I told (hitting coach Kevin Seitzer), he looks – I’ll just say I was really encouraged.”
Freeman added: “Ronald was looking really good at the plate, so it’s a matter of time for my MVP pick to start going off here.”
Entering the season, Acuna was a trendy sleeper MVP pick. He finished fifth in voting last season behind Bellinger, Yelich, Anthony Rendon and Ketel Marte. It was his first full major-league season.
Acuna fell just shy of joining the illustrious 40-40 club. He belted 41 homers and stole 37 bases. Starring at the leadoff spot, Acuna hit .280 with a .883 OPS over 156 games.
The Braves’ greater issues involve pitching, but their offense has been up and down. They lead the majors with 74 strikeouts, which is a franchise record for the most through six games. Even at his best, Acuna will strike out – he did so 188 times last season, one behind the major-league most.
Whenever Acuna gets going, perhaps the Braves can finally see how potent their top four can be. Ozzie Albies is trying to work his way out of his own slow start, while Freeman’s four hits Wednesday seem to move him in the right direction. Clean-up hitter Marcell Ozuna has been brilliant thus far, leading the National League with five extra-base hits.