The hustle, the muscle — there aren’t many things that Ronald Acuña Jr. doesn’t do well.
The Braves may have lost to the Phillies 7-6 on Sunday night, but the Atlanta outfielder is playing out of his mind to start the 2021 MLB season.
First, Acuña dazzled fans in the first inning of the Braves-Phillies matchup, beating out a routine ground ball, exhibiting elite sprint speed to first base.
There are many things about Acuña beating out the ground ball that make it impressive:
- It was a hard-hit ball to Didi Gregorius, at just a hair under 109 mph;
- Gregorius fielded the ball cleanly;
- Gregorius made a strong throw over to first base.
Statcast defines “elite” sprint speed at 30 feet per second, meaning Acuña got to first in just under three seconds. Essentially, blink, and you’ll miss it.
Acuña wasn’t done for the night, later launching an absolute bomb of a home run to deep center field — which had the same exit velocity as the grounder that he hit to shortstop.
Fun fact… Ronald Acuña’s home run was hit 109 MPH at a 25 degree launch angle. That combination is a home run 100% of the time. So if you want to hit a home run there you go 😏 pic.twitter.com/kqlr4m3Qym
— Daren Willman (@darenw) April 12, 2021
It’s early, but the Braves’ outfielder is reminding everyone just who the hell he is. A one-time consensus top-three prospect in baseball, some critics try to disrespect Acuña for his “lack of hustle” and other such nonsense.
It’s way, way early, but Acuña is on the warpath in 2021, coming off a solid 2020 in which teammate Freddie Freeman won NL MVP.
#Braves Ronald Acuña Jr.’s current National League ranks:
1st – .444 AVG
1st – .917 SLG
1st – 1.378 OPS
1st – 16 hits
1st – 9 extra-base hits
1st – 33 total bases
2nd – 5 doubles
3rd – 4 home runs pic.twitter.com/r7VqlbSAen
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) April 12, 2021
If Acuña keeps this up, don’t be surprised if the Braves have back to back MVPs.