Ronald Acuna Jr. made history Tuesday night by homering in his fifth consecutive game, with three of his six home runs in that span coming as the first batter of the contest for the Braves. The 20-year-old phenom launched the first pitch he saw from Marlins right-hander Trevor Richards well
Ronald Acuna Jr. made history Tuesday night by homering in his fifth consecutive game, with three of his six home runs in that span coming as the first batter of the contest for the Braves. The 20-year-old phenom launched the first pitch he saw from Marlins right-hander Trevor Richards well beyond the wall in left field at SunTrust Park for his 18th of the season, and followed that up with yet another homer in the seventh, an opposite-field, three-run shot off left-hander Adam Conley.
In what is shaping up to be a tight National League Rookie of the Year race, Acuna is strengthening his candidacy by the day, and helping keep the Braves atop a tight NL East. In the process, he's joining some rarefied company.
• Acuna:Hits 3rd straight leadoff homer | Goes deep leading off both games in twin bill
Here's what you need to know about Acuna's historic performance:
• At 20 years, 239 days old, Acuna became the youngest player since at least 1908 to homer in five straight games. The previous record for youngest player with a home run in five consecutive games belonged to another Braves player, Brian McCann, who was 22 years, 150 days old when he accomplished the feat on July 19, 2006. Only one under-21 player on record had ever even homered in four straight games before Acuna -- Jose Cabrera from April 10-14, 2004.
• But it's not just that. In the last three of those games, Acuna has hit a leadoff home run, as the Braves' first batter of the game. Only one other player in baseball's modern era (since 1900) has hit a leadoff homer in at least three straight games -- that was Brady Anderson, who did it in four straight for the Orioles from April 18-21, 1996. Anderson was 32 when he accomplished the feat, though, which makes Acuna the youngest.
• Acuna's third straight game with a leadoff homer on Tuesday came after he led off both games of Atlanta's doubleheader Monday with a home run. With that feat, Acuna joined Harry Hooper of the Red Sox (May 30, 1913), Rickey Henderson (July 6, 1993) and, coincidentally, Anderson again in a different season (Aug. 21, 1999) as the only players to hit a leadoff homer in both ends of a doubleheader.
• Acuna also became the first player since the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano in 2007 to hit a leadoff home run on the first pitch he saw in two straight games. Soriano did so on Sept. 19, 2007 vs. the Reds, and Sept 21, 2007 vs. the Pirates.
• Acuna tied the Braves' franchise record for most consecutive games with a home run, joining Rogers Hornsby (June 2-9, 1928), Eddie Miller (Aug. 4-8, 1940), Joe Adcock (July 8-14, 1956), Hank Aaron (April 25-29, 1966), Jeff Burroughs (July 29-Aug. 2, 1977), Ozzie Virgil (May 12-16, 1987), Chipper Jones (Aug. 13-17, 2004) and McCann (July 15-19, 2006). Aaron was the first to do it after the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1966.
• In each of Acuna's past five games, he's been in the leadoff spot for the Braves. His five consecutive games with a home run while batting at the top of the order are tied for the most on record -- with all of those streaks having come within the last four seasons. Three other players have homered in five straight games while hitting first: Matt Carpenter this season (July 14-21), James Dozier (Sept. 2-6, 2016) and Joc Pederson (May 31-June 3, 2015).
• Acuna is now in a larger stretch in which he's homered in seven of his last eight games. No other player age 20 or younger has ever homered in seven of eight games in the modern era. The last player of any age to homer in at least seven of eight games was another rookie phenom, Rhys Hoskins, from Aug. 20-27 last season.
• Acuna didn't move into the leadoff spot until after the All-Star break but has wasted no time doing damage. His first-inning plate appearance Tuesday was his 100th out of that position, and he cracked his 11th round-tripper, adding his 12th later in the game. All other Braves leadoff men -- mostly Ozzie Albies and Ender Inciarte -- have hit 10 homers in 451 plate appearances this season.
• Acuna's five homers leading off a game this season already ranks among the highest totals in Braves franchise history. Only three other Braves players have ever hit at least five leadoff home runs in a single season. Acuna joins Marquis Grissom (seven in 1996), Felipe Alou (who hit five leadoff homers three straight years from 1965-67) and Claudell Washington (five in 1984).
• Despite his limited time in the role, Acuna is one of just seven players this season who has at least five leadoff homers (Carpenter leads MLB with eight). In fact, only 10 teams other than the Braves have at least five leadoff homers in 2018.
• Acuna now has 19 total home runs, making him the 20th player to go deep at least that many times in his age-20 season or younger. The last was the Astros' Carlos Correa in 2015. But if Acuna stays hot, he will quickly move up the leaderboard for players 20 or younger. Just nine have reached the 25-homer plateau: Michael Trout (2012), Alex Rodriguez (1996), Tony Conigliaro ('65), Orlando Cepeda ('58), Frank Robinson ('56), Al Kaline ('55), Eddie Mathews ('52), Ted Williams ('39) and Mel Ott ('29).
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.