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Acuna, Snitker are finalists for BBWAA awards

Outfielder up for NL Rookie of the Year, skipper for Manager of the Year
MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Ronald Acuna Jr. and Brian Snitker could soon become the first members of the Braves' organization to receive a major postseason award since Craig Kimbrel was named the National League Rookie of the Year Award winner in 2011.

Acuna is a finalist for this year's Jackie Robinson NL Rookie of the Year Award, and Snitker stands as one of three finalists for the NL Manager of the Year Award. The finalists -- and ultimately the winners -- of each major postseason award were determined by ballots cast by the Baseball Writers' Association of America before the start of the postseason.

ATLANTA -- Ronald Acuna Jr. and Brian Snitker could soon become the first members of the Braves' organization to receive a major postseason award since Craig Kimbrel was named the National League Rookie of the Year Award winner in 2011.

Acuna is a finalist for this year's Jackie Robinson NL Rookie of the Year Award, and Snitker stands as one of three finalists for the NL Manager of the Year Award. The finalists -- and ultimately the winners -- of each major postseason award were determined by ballots cast by the Baseball Writers' Association of America before the start of the postseason.

Acuna wins Baseball Digest's NL Rookie of the Year Award

The Rookie of the Year Award will be announced on Nov. 12, with the Manager of the Year Award revealed the following night. Both will air on MLB Network.

Video: Darling on Snitker's Manager of the Year candidacy

Acuna, Nationals outfielder Juan Soto and Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler are the finalists for the Rookie of the Year Award. The 19-year-old Soto stood as a strong favorite before Acuna went on a tear after moving to Atlanta's leadoff spot after the All-Star break. He set a Braves single-season record with eight leadoff homers.

Tweet from @MLB: Your 2018 NL Rookie of the Year finalists:@ronaldacunajr24@buehlersdayoffJuan Soto pic.twitter.com/dazDLOx9gb

Acuna made his much-anticipated debut on April 25 and then missed a month with a left knee injury on May 27. The 20-year-old phenom hit .293 with 26 homers, a .917 OPS and 143 Weighted Runs Created Plus over 111 games. His 3.7 fWAR (Fangraphs' WAR Model) matched Soto for the best posted by a NL rookie. Buehler ranked third with a 3.5 mark.

Video: Darling on Acuna Jr.'s NL ROY candidacy

Soto posted nearly identical stats, batting .292 with 22 homers, a .923 OPS and 146 wRC+ over 116 games. While the Nationals' outfielder was solid after the All-Star break, Acuna benefited from his incredible second half. Among all NL players after the Midsummer Classic, Acuna ranked third in home runs (19), wRC+ (171) and fWAR (3.4). Soto produced a 2.0 fWAR as he tallied 13 homers and constructed a 142 wRC+ during the season's second half.

When Acuna was struggling the final week before the All-Star break, Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer's desire to make some mechanical changes was granted when Snitker told him, "I'm about done watching [Acuna's] at-bats. It's gross."

Video: Black, Counsell, Snitker named NL MOY finalists

Snitker also made the successful decision to energize his offense by moving Acuna to the leadoff spot after the All-Star break. The 63-year-old skipper used sound decisions and a positive environment en route to the Braves' unexpected run to a NL East title.

Coming off three consecutive 90-loss seasons and predicted by many to finish fourth in the division, the Braves enjoyed a 90-win year and advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2013. Snitker's team never lost more than four consecutive games, and it posted two season-best six-game winning streaks on the way to clinching the division in September.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Ronald Acuna Jr.