Acuña also launched his 24th home run Saturday, putting him on pace for 38. Ten of those homers have exceeded 430 feet, including his latest: a 434-foot blast off Brewers starter Julio Teheran. Since his debut in April 2018, Acuña has displayed a rare blend of power and speed that’s helped him become one of the sport’s most dynamic players.
The storyline with Acuña has usually been about 40-40, a homer/stolen base club with which he flirted in 2019 (41-37). Now, he has a chance at MLB’s first 40-80 season. Acuña stole his 50th base in his 102nd game; consider that no other major leaguer had reached 50 stolen bases in a season since 2017. In the modern era, only three Braves have swiped 50 bases: Otis Nixon, (72 in 1991); Hap Myers (57, 1913) and Acuña.
Overall, Acuña has slashed .333/.416/.578 while leading the majors with 91 runs scored. His 5.3 fWAR leads the National League and ranks second in the majors behind only the Angels’ two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani (7.2). Acuña has seven games in which he’s homered and stolen a base, which leads the majors and is tied for the Atlanta-era Braves record (Ron Gant, 1991; Gary Sheffield, 2003).
As the best team’s best player who’s routinely done the unprecedented, Acuña has long been the NL MVP favorite. But individual honors aren’t at his mind’s forefront.
“Look, I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t want to win (NL MVP),” he said. “I would love to win it. But that’s not where my mentality is at. I don’t give any thought to it. I don’t think about it. I feel like the MVP is chosen on stats, for lack of a better way to say it, and for me, baseball is about the way I go out and play the game and I enjoy it. So that’s what I focus on every time I go out there.”