Atlanta Braves outfielder and reigning National League Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr. hit his 40th home run of 2019 on Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Acuna clubbed an 0-2 fastball off Aaron Nola into the left field seats, becoming the youngest player in MLB history with at least 40 homers and 30 stolen bases:
.@ronaldacunajr24 is the youngest player in @MLB history to have 40 HR/30 SB season. pic.twitter.com/SgsgVMtTdi
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) September 19, 2019
The Braves defeated the Phillies 5-4 and have officially clinched a playoff berth. They are closing in on their second consecutive NL East Division title.
While Atlanta continues to look like the biggest threat to the Los Angeles Dodgers come playoff time, Acuna has struggled in recent weeks. Over the last 28 days, the 21-year-old was slashing .190/.287/.340 with just three homers in 115 plate appearances.
Despite Acuna’s recent slump, he still has an excellent chance at becoming just the fifth player in MLB history to have 40 homers and 40 steals in the same season. Obviously, Acuna has already reached the 40-homer mark; he needs just three more stolen bases to get to 40.
Should Ronald Acuna reach the 40-40 mark, he will be the youngest to ever accomplish the feat, nearly two years younger than Alex Rodriguez when he joined the 40-40 club with the Seattle Mariners in 1998.
While Ronald Acuna has mostly fallen out of the NL MVP conversation, his personal development over the course of a full season has still been special to watch. Acuna has stayed healthy, and he has made significant strides as a defensive outfielder to complement his success at the plate and on the base paths.