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How Should The Braves Proceed Without Acuña?

The Atlanta Braves were hit with devastating news on May 26th as their star outfielder, Ronald Acuña Jr., suffered a torn ACL in his left leg and will be out for the season. This is Acuña's second ACL tear in his career, his first coming in 2021 in his right leg that also sidelined him for the remainder of the season.


Ronald Acuña Jr.


Week One Without Acuña:

The first week without Acuña didn't go too well for the Braves. They lost 4 out of their last 7 games and they were all against winnable opponents in the Washington Nationals (27-31) and the Oakland Athletics (24-37). Their once-powerful offense led by Acuña has started to dissipate as the Braves scored only three or more runs in four of their last seven games.


Who's Replacing Ronald?

In Acuña's absence, outfielders Adam Duvall and Jared Kelenic have shared time playing right field for Atlanta. Kelenic has been great since Acuña's departure, notching 7 hits, a .318 batting average, a walk, and 2 RBIs in his last seven games.

Duvall, on the other hand, has been slacking. In his past seven games, he has just 2 hits in 25 at-bats, an OBP of .185, as well as 9 strikeouts. Atlanta did bring up AAA outfielder, J.P. Martínez, but he has yet to have a plate appearance since his call-up.


Incoming Trade?:

There's no reason for the Atlanta Braves to panic about replacing Acuña at the moment. The Braves are 34-24 and hold a 5.5-game lead in the first wildcard spot in the National League. Now, the season is still young, and there's lots of time for the Braves to lose their lucrative wildcard lead, but there should be a plan to acquire a top-tier outfielder if their season where to be in jeopardy.


So who is (and who might be) on the trade block? Two players that should be on Atlanta's watch list are the outfielders J.D. Martinez and Harrison Bader from the New York Mets. Martinez has again shown his slugger-like abilities as the veteran has a slash line of .282/.333/.806 with 5 HR and 15 RBI in 35 games this year.


Bader, known for his skills in the field, has been hitting the ball extremely well for the Mets. With an OPS 68 points higher than last year, his bat is becoming almost as valuable as his glove. Bader is also on track to pass his homerun and RBI totals from last year (7 HR, 40 RBI) with 3 HR and 20 RBIs this year.


Michael Conforto, LF for the San Francisco Giants, could be on the move to Atlanta as well. The left-handed outfielder has swung it well for San Fran this year as his slash line reads .265/.319/.783. with 7 HR and 20 RBIs. Conforto also becomes a free agent for this offspring so he would be a nice one-year rental piece to replace Acuña.


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