The National League Rookie of the Year race is one for the ages. You can say it is one of historic proportions even. Everyday the Washington Nationals Juan Soto or the Atlanta Braves Ronald Acuña, Jr. do something we’ve seemingly never seen.
We are running out of positive things to say about Ronald Acuña Jr. and the @Braves, so we'll just let the graphic speak for itself. pic.twitter.com/EebA1fFE3N— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 15, 2018
Obviously, the discussion of who wins the Rookie of the Year has been the hottest debate on the Internet. So, why should our loyal reads be deprived of their say?
Here’s how I described it just a few days ago to my group of friends. It’s an all out race. Soto is in the lead and would have to fall pretty mightily for Acuña, Jr. to catch him. That is not an insult to Acuña, Jr. either. It was like calling Tom Glavine the second-best pitcher on the Braves in the 90s. It wasn’t his fault, that Greg Maddux fellow just had a huge start.
Of course, almost on cue, Acuña, Jr. goes on one of his superhuman tears and leaves me scratching my head.
Let’s check out the resumes to help you decide:
- .301/.422/.548 with 17 doubles, 15 home runs in 259 at bats.
- His .970 OPS is higher than Aaron Judge, Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, and Jose Altuve.
- He started the year in Low-A Hagerstown and has all off 122 combined minor league games to his name. That equates to just about one full season.
- He’s doing things at 19 that are similar to what Acuña, Jr. did at the same age, except he’s doing it at the big league level.
- His 59 strikeouts to 54 walks ratio is almost absurd for a 19-year-old at any level, never mind facing big league pitching.
Ronald Acuña, Jr.
- .288/.346/.468 with 17 doubles and 19 home runs in 264 at bats (of course, Soto has played more games — 75 to 69 — but because of his ability to walk, has less at bats).
- His recent home run surge has boosted his OPS over .900, sitting at .922.
- Started the year in Gwinnett to get his game right.
- What we are seeing right now is exactly what we saw last year. Acuña, Jr. had a few slow games at each level and felt it out before exploding to become the best prospect at three different levels of ball. His ability to make adjustments as a 20-year-old is borderline absurd.
- Brian Snitker is putting his name atop the Manager of the Year leaderboard, simply by moving Acuña, Jr. to the leadoff spot. Suddenly, Braves fans have become quite about the bullpen issues earlier this season.
Ronald Acuña Jr. has already hit 11 HR in his first 100 PA in the leadoff spot.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 15, 2018
All other Braves hitters have combined for 10 HR in 451 PA out of the leadoff spot this season.
Acuña Jr. is the 2nd player since 1900 to hit a leadoff HR in 3 straight games.
h/t @EliasSports. pic.twitter.com/nC5ER1j9d1
Now, one side of the coin is that Acuña, Jr. was the No. 1 prospect in baseball and he was expected to have these type of numbers this season. Soto is 19-years-old and began the season in Low-A, but anyone who saw one at bat on Hagerstown knew it was because of the injury and you were watching a generational player. The ONLY reason Soto wasn’t a top 10 (maybe 5) prospect in the game was because of the injury limiting him to less than 100 career games last year.
These are not the only points of contention. There are plenty of more points that can be brought to the table, and please feel free to do so below. Voting is open until this Friday, August 17 at midnight, so please let your voices be heard.
Who’s the National League Rookie of the Year?
This poll is closed
Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
Ronald Acuña, Jr., Atlanta Braves
Too close right now, ask me when Acuña, Jr. stops homering