Acuna knocks No. 25, joining elite company
PHOENIX -- Ronald Acuna Jr. added to his second-half power surge and became just the seventh player to tally 25 homers in a season before turning 21 years old when he lifted a two-run homer in the sixth inning of the Braves' 9-5 win over the D-backs on Sunday.
"The maturity is just unbelievable with this kid," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He goes up there with a lot of confidence."
Acuna gave the Braves a 2-0 lead with a two-run opposite-field homer off D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray in the sixth inning. The liner over the right-field wall was his 25th homer of the season. The only other players to record this total in a season before their 21st birthday are Eddie Mathews, Orlando Cepeda, Al Kaline, Tony Conigliaro, Frank Robinson and Mel Ott.
As the Braves now own a 4 1/2-game lead in the National League East race, they can attribute much of their success to Acuna, who has slashed .333/.420/.709 while producing a NL-best 18 homers since the All-Star break. His second-half surge has positioned him to be named the NL Rookie of the Year and possibly garner some MVP votes.
Acuna has hit 14 of his 25 homers within a span of 128 at-bats, dating back to Aug. 8. The 9.14 home runs per at-bats ratio he has produced during this span also leads all Major Leaguers.