This is Acuña's latest 2023 milestone

Braves superstar caps historic year with 149 runs scored

October 1st, 2023

and the Braves have a dizzying list of accomplishments in 2023.

Add another to the list -- one that speaks to both the player’s individual brilliance and the team’s overwhelming offensive prowess. And no, we're not talking about going 40-70.

Acuña scored his 140th run of the season on Sept. 21 in Washington, hitting a leadoff triple in the third inning, then crossing the plate on Ozzie Albies’ double. In true Braves fashion, that turned into a crooked number, as they put a five spot on the board against the Nationals.

Everything has come together this year for Acuña to reach rarified run-scoring air -- he finished the season with 149 runs scored. He has stayed healthy, playing in all but two of Atlanta’s games. He led the Majors with a .416 on-base percentage. And he bats leadoff atop a stacked lineup, with each Braves regular starter sporting at least a 98 OPS+ and 17 home runs.

Here’s what you need to know about the NL MVP candidate’s latest big number -- and the one that could come next:

How rare is a 140-run season?

In terms of recent history, very rare indeed. The last one came via the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez in 2007, just a year after the most recent 40-40 campaign, by Alfonso Soriano. 

Not surprisingly, 140-run seasons have tended to cluster in high-offense eras. There were a whopping 35 of them in the 1920s and '30s. Counting Acuña, there have been only 15 since then, nine of them coming between 1993-2001.

Seasons of 140-plus runs
Expansion Era (Since 1961)
2023 - Ronald Acuña Jr. (ATL), 149
2007 - Alex Rodriguez (NYY), 143
2001 - Sammy Sosa (CHC), 146
2000 - Jeff Bagwell (HOU), 152
1999 - Jeff Bagwell (HOU), 143
1997 - Craig Biggio (HOU), 146
1997 - Larry Walker (COL), 143
1996 - Ellis Burks (COL), 142
1996 - Chuck Knoblauch (MIN), 140
1996 - Alex Rodriguez (SEA), 141
1993 - Lenny Dykstra (PHI), 143
1985 - Rickey Henderson (NYY), 146

Individual 140-run seasons by decade
Modern Era (Since 1900)
2020s - 1
2010s - 0
2000s - 2
1990s - 7
1980s - 1
1970s - 0
1960s - 0
1950s - 0
1940s - 3
1930s - 22
1920s - 13
1910s - 2
1900s - 2

So what about 150 runs?

Acuña came ever so close to breaching the 150-runs-scored barrier, but he fell one short in 2023.

Still, the fact that he was even in the conversation is impressive, when you consider how a 150-run season has been virtually unobtainable for the past several decades.

Most recent seasons of 150-plus runs
2000 - Jeff Bagwell (HOU), 152
1949 - Ted Williams (BOS), 150
1937 - Joe DiMaggio (NYY), 151

That’s right: Nobody has reached the 150-run plateau in 23 years, with Bagwell the only player to do so going back to 1950. Of the 19 instances in the Modern Era, 17 occurred in the 1920s and '30s, when a shorter season was counteracted by a wild offensive environment.

Who are the kings of reaching home?

If you’re looking at the entirety of Major League history, then Billy Hamilton -- not the present-day speedster -- tops the list. He crossed the plate 198 times for the 1894 Phillies, posting a .521 OBP and stealing 100 bases for a team that hit a combined .350, scoring nearly nine runs per game. It was a different time, to say the least.

The Modern Era (since 1900) record holder is a more familiar name: Babe Ruth. The Sultan of Swat scored 177 times in 1921, his second year with the Yankees.

Most runs scored in a season
Modern Era (Since 1900)
177 - Babe Ruth (1921 NYY)
167 - Lou Gehrig (1936 NYY)
163 - Lou Gehrig (1931 NYY)
163 - Babe Ruth (1928 NYY)
158 - Chuck Klein (1930 PHI)
158 - Babe Ruth (1927 NYY)
158 - Babe Ruth (1920 NYY)

Ruth (eight), Gehrig (four) and Williams (three) are the only players in the Modern Era with more than two seasons of 140 or more runs scored. Bagwell and Rodriguez are the only players with more than one since 1950.

Perhaps Acuña will join that list in the future, but for now, he can boast yet another eye-popping single-season accomplishment.