Ronald Acuna’s impressive homers, steals MVP-worthy
Fred Jeter | 9/28/2023, 6 p.m.
Combining power plus speed like few others, Ronald Acuna Jr. has joined one of baseball’s most prestigious fraternities — “The 40-40 Club.”
On Sept. 22, the Atlanta Braves leadoff hitting right fielder became just the fifth in history to accumulate at least 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in a season.
The 25-year-old Venezuelan began this week with 40 homers and a major league leading 68 stolen bases. That was with a full week of regular season games left.
Others in the select “40-40 Club” are:
• Jose Canseco, 42 homers, 40 steals, 1988, Oakland
• Barry Bonds, 42 homers, 40 steals, 1996 San Francisco
• Alex Rodriguez, 42 homers, 46 steals, 1998, Seattle
• Alfonso Soriano, 46 homers, 41 steals, 2006, Washington
Acuna, who signed with Atlanta for $100,000 as an international free agent in 2014, also is the only player to have at least 30 homers and 60 swipes in a season.
In 2019, he flirted with the “40-40 Club,” posting 41 homers and 37 steals for the Braves.
Along with his homers and steals, Acuna opened the final week of the 2023 slate with a .338 average, 101 runs batted in, and 143 runs scored. Acuna, the 2018 National League Rookie of Year and four-time all-star, is a leading candidate for NL Most Valuable Player.
His best competition may come from Los Angeles’Mookie Betts, who bats leadoff and plays mostly right field for the Dodgers.