The Atlanta Braves have one of the most lethal weapons in all of baseball in Ronald Acuña Jr., and it seems like they’re going to dispose that weapon leading off games once again in the upcoming season.
Recently, team beat writer David O’Brien reports that manager Brian Snitker already decided that he would not move Acuña Jr. to the clean-up spot even before the signing of Marcel Osuna.
— SportsTalkATL.com (@SportsTalkATL) January 28, 2020
It’s important to note what Acuña Jr. did in the leadoff spot in 2019.
In 118 games in that spot, he posted a triple slash of .280/.364/.528 with 34 homers and 78 RBIs. Look at the run production, the guy still found a way to knock in runs at the top of the lineup. With Atlanta still boasting some thunder from top to bottom in their order in 2020, it figures that he will find a way to do so again.
Here’s what the 22-year old says about leading off:
“Like I’ve always said before, I’m gonna give my best effort no matter where I’m hitting in the lineup or now matter where I’m playing on the field. Wherever it is they put me, I’m gonna give it my best effort.”
Obviously, Acuña Jr. is going to get his numbers regardless of where he’s hitting in the lineup. Already, he’s the frontrunner according to oddsmakers to win the 2020 NL Most Valuable Player Award.
Finally, the only conversation worth merit is whether it’s worth moving Acuña in the order to protect a hitter like Freddie Freeman. Getting Freeman extra pitches to hit could add to Acuña’s full benefits even moreso than he’s already providing.