NEW YORK – Before expanding his quest for record highs on the fifth 40-Homer and 40-theft baseline season in MLB history, Ronald Acuña Jr. can rejoice over the fact that he is now the second youngest player to join the exclusive 30-30 club of the game.
Acuna secured his membership as he
NEW YORK – Before expanding his pursuit of record, which would be only the fifth 40-Homer, 40-stolen base season in MLB history,
Acuna secured his membership when he stole second base during the eighth inauguration of the Braves' 2: 1
"Especially during the off-season I talked to other ball players in Venezuela and I would like to mention that I would really like to come to the 30-30 club and 100 RBIs," Acuna said through an interpreter. "That was the daily goal."
The only other player to join the 30- to 30-year-old club before his 22-year season was Mike Trout, who had 30 homers and 49 stolen bases in his 20-year season in 2012.  Would Braves manager Brian Snitker have thought that his outfielder could be successful in his second major league season?
"If you talk about him, I would not have said that you are crazy." Snitker said. "Only with the skills that the child has. I dare say that this will not be his last. "
Acuna joins Hank Aaron (1963), Dale Murphy (1983) and Ron Gant (1990 and 1991) as the only Braves producing 30-30 seasons. Acuna has done this feat in 130 team games, making it the fastest in franchise history. Gant had previously received this award (149 games in 1991). Eric Davis (105 games 1987) of the Reds is the fastest that has spawned this combination in MLB history.
Acuna is now seeking to collaborate with Jose Canseco (1988), Barry Bonds (1996), Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Alfonso on Soriano (2006) as the only player to record a 40-40 season.
Acuna is currently well on track to end the season with 44 homeruns and 37 stolen bases. He was successful 15 times in the first 28 games after the All-Star break. But his theft on Friday night was only his second in his last eleven games.
If you look only at the numbers after the All-Star break, Acuna has an average of 4.23 bats per game, and he once played all 11 bats home. This rate puts him on pace to cope with 48 homers.
Although his stolen base rate has dropped in recent weeks, he still has 0.436 stolen bases per game since the break. If he kept that quota in the last 32 games of the season, he would record 13 more thefts and end the season with 43 stolen bases.
Time will tell if Acuna is able to sustain these rates. But he has repeatedly shown that it is not advisable to limit his abilities.
"He's an incredible, incredible ballplayer," said Brave's shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria through an interpreter. "He has great ability to be so young."
Mark Bowman reports on the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.