Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. was projected to lead the league in stolen bases during the 2023 season, the league posted in a Wednesday tweet. Baltimore Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins and Oakland Athletics outfielder Esteury Ruiz round out the top three.
Ronald Acuna Jr. stole 29 bases last year, eight away from his career high and 11 away from Toronto Blue Jays infielder Jon Berti in 2022. He racked up his highest amount of stolen bases in 2019, when he stole 37 bases on his way to his first All-Star selection.
Berti became the fifth Marlin to lead the MLB in stolen bases, joining infielder Dee Strange-Gordon, outfielder Juan Pierre, pitcher Luis Castillo and second baseman Quilvio Veras as the Miami players to pull of the feat, according to MLB.com Marlins writer Christina De Nicola.
“That’s pretty cool,” Berti said. “It still hasn’t really sunk in just yet. To be able to do it, if you were to tell me at the end of the year that I would lead the league in stolen bases this year, I would have signed on the dotted line. So pretty special.”
Acuna Jr. earned his third All-Star selection after he earned 124 hits, 15 home runs and 50 runs batted in 467 at-bats and 533 plate appearances. The 25-year-old earned All-Star spots in two straight years for the Braves.
Ronald Acuna Jr. said he was excited to get back into the Braves rotation after suffering an ACL tear in 2021.
“I’m just beyond excited and happy,” Acuna Jr. said. “I think my face says it all. I feel like it’s been more than two years at this point since I felt completely healthy. So I’m beyond excited.
“I think I can say that I’m normal. I’m 100 percent healthy. I really think that I can be a normal player and not play DH that much anymore.”