As the Atlanta Braves are looking for their second consecutive National League East Division title, they are getting outstanding production from the leadoff spot by center fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. In 11 August games, Acuna Jr. has a hit in 10 of them and has a batting average in that time of .367. In the process, Acuna Jr. is being a legitimate candidate for the National League Most Valuable Player Award.
In 49 at bats in August against the Cincinnati Reds, Minnesota Twins and Miami Marlins, Acuna Jr. has 18 hits and 15 runs scored. However, he is showing exceptional power too. Of the 18 hits, 10 have gone for extra bases as Acuna Jr. has eight home runs and two doubles. Also over the last 11 Braves games, Acuna Jr. has four walks, three stolen bases, an on base percentage of .415 and slugging percentage of .898.
The biggest series the Braves have had in the month of August came from August 5-7, when they won two of three games against the American League wildcard leading Twins. The Braves lost the opener 5-3 on August 5, before winning games by scores of 12-7 and 11-7. In that time, Acuna Jr. batted .400 with two home runs, six runs scored, four runs batted in, one walk and one stolen base.
On the season, Acuna Jr. is batting just below the .300 mark at .298. In 487 at bats, he has 33 home runs, 80 runs batted in, 99 runs scored, 145 hits, 16 doubles, one triple, 55 walks, 28 stolen bases, an on base percentage of .378 and a slugging percentage of .538.
Acuna Jr. leads the Braves in runs, hits, home runs, total bases (262) and stolen bases. He is also first in the National League in runs and stolen bases, second in hits (behind Ketel Marte of the Arizona Diamondbacks who leads with 146), fourth in home runs and third in total bases.
There is no question that Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers is the favourite to be named N.L. MVP, however Acuna Jr. deserves two be in the conversation. The Braves are currently at 70 wins and 50 losses, and comfortably lead the Washington Nationals by 20 games in the National League East.