Ronald Acuña Jr. becomes quickest MLB player to reach 50 stolen bases, 20 home runs
No one has ever reached both marks in a season prior to the month of August. The Braves' star is on pace for a historic season.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
On July 29, Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. stole his 50th base of the season in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers.
In doing so, he became the first player in the MLB to reach the 50 stolen bases mark since 2017. That season, both Dee Strange-Gordon (then of the Miami Marlins) and Billy Hamilton (then of the Cincinnati Reds) finished with 60 and 59 steals, respectively.
So far, Acuña Jr. has been successful on 50 of his 59 stolen base attempts this season.
In addition, Acuña Jr. became the first player in MLB history to record 20 home runs and 50 stolen bases before August.
Prior to this season, his high in stolen bases in a season was 37, and he hadn’t surpassed 30 stolen bases since 2020.
“I’m really happy with 50 stolen bases. That said, there’s still a long way to go, and I’m hoping to steal more bases,” Acuña Jr. said during an interview after the game.
Acuña Jr. is putting together a dynamic season for the 67-36 Braves.
He has scored an MLB-best 32 runs in the first inning, just two shy of breaking the single-season franchise record set by Chipper Jones in 1999.
Beyond leading the league in stolen bases (51), Acuña Jr. also ranks second in batting average (.335), ranks third in hits (138), and is tied for 12th in home runs (24).
As one of the leaders in this year’s MVP race, a number of his stats rank near the top of the league. However, stats aren’t the most important thing to the Venezuelan outfielder.
“My baseball is about the way I go out and play the game and enjoy it. That’s literally all I focus on,” he said.
A Potential All-Time Season?
With about 60 games left on the Braves’ schedule, Acuña Jr. is on pace to etch his name in the history books, alongside only a few other names.
For starters, he could potentially become only the fifth player in MLB history to achieve a 40-40 season (record at least 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases).
If accomplished, he would join Jose Canseco (1988 with the Oakland Athletics), Barry Bonds (1996 with the San Francisco Giants), Alex Rodriguez (1998 with the Seattle Mariners), and Alfonso Soriano (2006 with the Washington Nationals).
At this pace, he is also likely to become only the third player to record 30 home runs and 50 steals in a season, where he’d join Eric Davis (1987 with the Cincinnati Reds) and Barry Bonds (1990 with the Pittsburgh Pirates).
With two full months remaining before the MLB Playoffs start, Acuña Jr. could also potentially become just the fourth player since 2000 to steal 70 or more bases in a season.