Braves history: Ronald Acuna joins 30-30 club

Ronald Acuna has the fifth 30-30 season in Braves history.

After swiping second base in the eighth inning of Friday’s game in New York, the outfielder joined one of the more exclusive lists in Braves history.

He’s the fourth Brave to reach the 30-30 mark for steals and homers, joining Hank Aaron, Ron Gant and Dale Murphy. Gant did it twice (1990, 1991).

“It’s a great honor for me to do this,” Acuna said via team interpreter Franco Garcia. “It’s a great honor to represent my family and where I’m from always. I think there’s only one Venezuelan who’s ever gotten to the 30-30 club (Bobby Abreu, 2001, 2004).”

Acuna is the quickest to achieve 30-30 in Braves history, doing so in his 130th game. That bests Gant’s mark in 1991 (149).

Gant applauded Acuna on Twitter, saying: “Congratulations (Acuna)! It’s so much fun to watch you play the game of baseball! Welcome to the 30/30 club!”

The 21-year-old Acuna is the second player to join the 30-30 club before his 22nd birthday, joining Mike Trout. Had one predicted Acuna would achieve such a feat at his ripe age, it wouldn’t have surprised his manager.

“When you talk about him, I wouldn’t have said you were crazy,” manager Brian Snitker said. “Just the skill set the kid has. I’d venture to say at his age, this won’t be his last one.”

Acuna, whom the team has under contractual control for the next decade, has inserted himself in the MVP race over the season’s second half. After his second walk-off hit of the month Thursday, Acuna is hitting .295 with 36 homers, 30 steals, 88 RBIs and 106 runs scored.

The reigning rookie of the year has soared to the point that a 40-40 season within the realm of possibility. Only four players have posted 40-40 seasons (Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco).