Spring Training: You can always tell who put in extra work in the offseason

Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

March 1, 2021 –
BY KEVIN MCALPIN
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – When it comes to the first couple weeks of camp, you can always tell who put in extra work in the offseason to come to camp in great shape. One of those guys this year for Brian Snitker’s bunch is All-Star right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr, who had a solid start to his Spring session in Monday’s 5-3 win over the Red Sox. Acuna doubled to start the game, and scored on an RBI single from Jake Lamb on what felt like a rather aggressive send by third base coach Ron Washington. “You just look at him, how he came to the ballpark and how he’s moving, it’s been really really good” Snitker said on Monday afternoon. “He lost a considerable amount I think. I think he feels really good too. I think it’ll play well for a long season that he’s not carrying so much weight around” Snitker added.

By no means is anyone saying Acuna was NOT in shape the last couple seasons. Baseball Reference has Acuna listed as 6-0, 205 lbs but if you follow him on any of his social media channels, you could tell Acuna was putting in some serious work in the offseason. While Acuna appears to be leaner, this could bode very well in his effort to become just the fifth player in baseball history to join the exclusive 40/40 club. The current four members include Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds and Jose Canseco. Acuna came oh-so-close in 2019, but had to miss the final week of the regular season, coming in just three steals shy of the mark (41/37).

MLB.com recently projected Acuna to lead the Majors in homers. And given the fact he’s in better physical shape, don’t be surprised to see him work on the stolen base numbers even earlier here in 2021.

Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.

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