Braves’ Ronald Acuna Becomes First Player With 40 Home Runs And 70 Steals
Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna made history Wednesday night, as his two steals in a 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs gave him 70 in the 2023 season. He is the first player in MLB history to steal 70 bases and hit 40 home runs in a single season.
“Very happy, mostly that we were able to win,” Acuña said through an interpreter after the game. “I’m extremely happy to have created the 40-70 club.”
Acuna’s record-breaking season has been at the forefront of an equally staggering year for the Braves’ offense as a whole. With 303 combined home runs as of Sept. 27, the team is closing in quickly on the all-time record of 307 set by the Minnesota Twins in the notorious juiced-ball 2019 season. Atlanta has four games left to break the record.
Despite hitting 41 home runs, Acuna is not even the best home run hitter on his team, as first baseman Matt Olson has 53. Marcell Ozuna and Austin Riley are not far beyond with 37 each. In total, seven batters have more than 20 home runs.
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Behind the efforts of Acuna and others, the Braves have already clinched the first seed in the MLB Playoffs and are the current favorites to win the World Series. When the team clinched the NL East division earlier this month, manager Brian Snitker promised Acuna as much this coming October.
“You’re gonna get to play in the World Series this time,” the manager told his player.
Since winning the World Series following a surprise postseason run in 2021, Atlanta have gone from young upstarts to perennial juggernauts, and with many key players under contract for the better part of the next decade, the team is expected to remain competitive for some time. Acuna’s breakout year after a somewhat slow 2022 season is simply the latest sign that the Braves are here to stay as one of the National League’s most dangerous contenders.
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