Watching Ronald Acuña over the last year, there’s plenty of things that stand out. Sure, there’s the eight leadoff homers a year ago to set a franchise single-season record. There’s the grand slam in the playoffs against Walker Buehler. There’s also that stretch of five straight games with a homer last August. Sure, those jump off the page when flipping through the media guide. But, there’s something else you notice watching Acuña in the batters box. Yes, he hits for power. He also hits for average. His speed is well documented and is a threat anytime he gets on base. But, something that caught my eye from day one was his patience at the plate.
“He takes some really tough pitches” Brian Snitker said after Wednesday’s game. “His at bats have been really good” Snit added on an afternoon that saw Acuña go hitless in three trips to the plate. Acuña just missed a solo homer to in the top of the sixth that was tracked down by Harrison Bader a step in front of the 400 sign on the center field wall. Overall, the 21 year old outfielder is off to a 1-for-5 start to the Spring, but right now, results are pretty meaningless.
All things considered, there isn’t a statistical category to quantify Acuña’s plate discipline, but it’s been impressive to say the least. While it’s still to be determined where Acuña finds himself in the starting lineup on Opening Day, you could make the argument that with his approach, speed and what we saw in 2019, he should be left as the leadoff man. That said, adding his bat behind Freddie Freeman in the cleanup spot has to appeal to the Braves skipper. No matter where he hits though, Acuña continues to prove there’s more than one way he can beat you.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.