Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna collected four hits in Friday’s win over the Nationals, extending his career-best on-base streak to 25 games. He then led off Saturday’s contest with a single, extending the streak another game.
Acuna’s run dates to June 19 and is the longest current streak in the majors. Acuna has hit .272/.364/.476 with 14 walks and 25 runs scored in that span. It’s been the best run of a season that made him the youngest Braves player to start an All-Star game.
On top of that, Acuna’s beginning to translate his speed and athletic ability into stolen bases. He’s stolen a base in four consecutive games, and his 20 steals are third most in the National League. Acuna said that unlike his rookie season, he’s been able to make a concentrated effort at refining his base-stealing (he stole 16 bags his first season).
“I always enjoyed stealing bases and running, so that’s been a focus of mine,” Acuna said through team interpreter Franco Garcia. “Last year, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to focus as much on it as I would’ve liked to due to the injury. I guess I was a little apprehensive to just let it go. But this year, I’ve had the mentality to focus more on that. I really enjoy running and trying to steal bases.”
Acuna joined the 20-20 club (homers and steals) with Saturday’s swipe. He’s the first Braves player to accomplish the feat since Jason Heyward in 2012 and the 22nd to do so in franchise history.
The 21-year-old has a chance at reaching the 30-30 mark. Only three Braves have achieved such: Ron Gant (1990, 1991), Dale Murphy (1983) and Hank Aaron (1963).
Acuna credited first-base coach Eric Young Sr. for his breakout success. Since Young joined the Braves before last season, players consistently refer to him as a catalyst for their advanced base-running.
“Ever since I joined this organization, he’s always been influencing me and helping me develop in my base stealing,” Acuna said. “He deserves a lot of credit. I’m very grateful for him.”
And as Acuna spreads the ball around the field, exhibits developing patience and continues menacing on the base paths, his game will grow that much more complete. The five-tool potential already is being realized.
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