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Could Acuña Jr. go 20-20 in 60 games? Well...

@mlbbowman
July 1, 2020

ATLANTA -- If Ronald Acuña Jr. were to produce a 20-20 season this year, it would mark just the fifth time in the past quarter-century a player has tallied 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in a 60-game span of one season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Acuña became

ATLANTA -- If Ronald Acuña Jr. were to produce a 20-20 season this year, it would mark just the fifth time in the past quarter-century a player has tallied 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in a 60-game span of one season.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Acuña became the fourth player to do so last year. The other three players to achieve the feat within the past 25 years are Alex Rodriguez (1998), Carlos Beltrán (2004) and Alfonso Soriano (‘06).

Rodriguez and Soriano each managed this en route to recording one of the four 40-40 seasons in MLB history. Acuña fell three stolen bases shy of joining that exclusive club when he hit a career-high 41 home runs last year. He joined Mike Trout as the only players to construct a 30-30 season at 21 years old or younger.

When Acuña arrived to Spring Training in February, he told Braves teammate Ozzie Albies that his goal was to produce the first 50-50 season in MLB history. Any chance of that happening this year evaporated when the coronavirus pandemic forced MLB to reduce its schedule to just 60 games.

Now, Acuña will be looking to make a quick surge like he did during the middle portion of last season. Thoughts of him bidding for a 40-40 season didn’t exist when he had homered 21 times yet stole just 13 bases through 90 games before the All-Star break.

But the potential accomplishment came into focus when Acuña stole 12 bases over the last 16 games of July. Within this span, he propelled himself toward becoming one of the four players to go 20-20 within any 60-game stretch.

Acuña finally realized this rare achievement after tallying 21 homers and swiping 21 bags over a 60-game stretch from June 4 to Aug. 10. He hit .313 and produced a .987 OPS as Atlanta went from being one game back in the National League East to holding a 6 1/2-game lead.

If Acuña is going to produce a second straight 20-20 season, he will need to heat up sooner than he did in either of his first two seasons. The young superstar homered 12 times and swiped seven bags through the first 60 games of his career in 2018. Acuña had 11 homers and eight steals through the first 60 games of ’19.

There have been 22 20-20 campaigns in Braves history, each of which was produced within a season that consisted of at least 154 games. Hank Aaron (6), Andruw Jones and Ron Gant (3), Chipper Jones and Dale Murphy (2) are the franchise’s only players to do so on multiple occasions.

So, yes, it might be outlandish to think Acuña could go 20-20 over just 60 games. But it’s not like it would be the first time he has done so.

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