ATLANTA — Ronald Acuña Jr. smiled when asked if he was aware of where he now ranks on the list of the most 470+ ft homers hit since 2018, the year he made his MLB debut and began wowing the league with his tremendous power.
“Yeah, you notice it,” Acuña said through an interpreter. “It’s incredible to be in the same company of that group of hitters who have such strength.”
Acuña’s latest monstrous homer wasn’t enough to help the Braves as they bullpened their way through a 5-2 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday night at Truist Park. But it did further cement his place with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and the game’s other power hitters more than capable of generating jaw-dropping moonshots.
“It just amazes me when he connects like that,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s just something I’ve never seen before.”
Acuña began the bottom of the sixth with a solo blast that landed at the top of the Hank Aaron terrace beyond the left-field wall. The solo shot, projected at 470 feet off Brayan Bello, was Acuña’s longest home run of the season and the fourth longest of his career.
Marveling at Acuña’s ridiculous power is something the Braves have regularly done over the past five years.
Per MLB Stats guru Sarah Langs, Acuña has hit four homers that have traveled at least 470 feet in his career. This ties him with with Stanton, Miguel Sanó and Trevor Story for the second most in MLB going back to that 2018 rookie season. Mike Trout leads the way with five such homers within this span.
Maybe even more impressive is the fact that Acuña has now hit 27 homers that have traveled at least 440 feet (includes playoffs). That’s three more than any other MLB player within this span.
Acuña finished the 2019 season three stolen bases shy of what would have been the fifth 40-40 season in MLB history. He was a top MVP candidate when he tore his right ACL two days before the 2021 All-Star break.
No longer bothered by the lingering effects of the major knee injury, he’s a legit MVP candidate who could join that exclusive 40-40 club.
Acuña is hitting .347 with seven homers, 15 stolen bases and a 1.014 OPS. How unique is his combination of great speed and power? He ranks second among MLB players in steals and four of his seven home runs have been projected at 440 feet or longer. No other big leaguer entered Wednesday with at least three such homers.
With four homers in his past 13 games, Acuña is on pace to finish this season with 30 homers and 65 stolen bases. The only two players in MLB history to hit at least 30 homers with 50-plus stolen bases were Eric Davis (37 HR, 50 SB in 1987) and Barry Bonds (33 HR, 52 SB in 1990).
“It’s like I’ve always said, he’s one of those guys where you better stay in your seats because you might see something special,” Snitker said.