Braves News: Ronald Acuña Jr. Hits Historic 40th Home Run

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

A glorious season for the Atlanta Braves continues to get better, and as the team continued its march toward the National League East Division title, its brightest star hit a big milestone. Outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 40th home run Thursday in a victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Acuña, 21, becomes just the third player in Major League history to hit 40 homers before turning 22. The others? Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Eddie Mathews.

“It feels incredible,” Acuña said, according to the Associated Press. “To be compared to superstars and Hall of Famers like that, especially at such a young age, wow.”

Elite company

Yes, home run records have been falling all over Major League Baseball this year. The New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers will all zoom past the previous record for team home runs. New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is within striking distance of the rookie record for homers.

So Acuña’s 40 home runs doesn’t mean he has the historic power of Ott or Mathews, necessarily. But consider this: Acuña also has 37 stolen bases. He’s the youngest player in MLB history to have a 40-30 season and is within striking distance of becoming just the fifth 40-40 player of any age.

Acuña also is hitting .279 with a league-leading 123 runs scored and plays great outfield defense.

He’s a bona fide star, and the Braves know it.

“That’s an unbelievable accomplishment at this stage of his career,” manager Brian Snitker said.

Team success first

Acuña is more concerned with the Braves’ success as a team. And at 94-60, Atlanta needs just one more win or Washington Nationals loss to clinch the division title for the second straight year.

“That’s the most exciting thing up to this point,” Acuña said through a translator. “That’s what we’re all looking for. I think for all of us, it’s just come out with that same energy, that same enthusiasm, get that win and hopefully celebrate. That’s something we’re all looking forward to.”

The Braves also have an outside chance to catch the Dodgers for the best record in the NL and home-field advantage in the playoffs. They trail L.A. by 4.5 games with eight to play.

Written by GMS staff report

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