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Ronald Acuña Jr. named NL Player of the Week

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You probably figured, but still fun

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, he might be day-to-day with an abdominal injury, but he’s still the best.

Between April 12 and April 18, Acuña put up a .385/.515/.846 line in 33 PAs, good for a 248 wRC+ and 0.7 fWAR. He dingered thrice and had the most fWAR in that span, tied with Jazz Chisholm.

What’s wild about this is that this weekly award-winning performance actually dropped Acuña’s line — he came in to April 12 hitting .444/.462/.917, so his wRC+ actually fell by three points in the past week. And yet, he leads all of baseball with 1.6 fWAR, “well ahead” (as much “well ahead as one can be given that the season is all of two weeks old) of Mike Trout’s and Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s 1.2 and Justin Turner’s 1.1, and even ahead of the pitcher with the highest fWAR (Tyler Glasnow at 1.4). (Byron Buxton has 1.5 and his closest competition for the fWAR lead, but is randomly not qualified for the batting title right now... huh. We should probably use a different qualifier.)

He’s good, and hopefully his layoff after exiting last night’s game is a very short one. There are baseballs yet to be punished, and video game numbers to actively maintain. He’s basically already banked an extra win and a half or so relative to his projections, pushing him from the preseason 5.0-6.0 range into the current 6.5-7.5 range. Oh, and this isn’t that flukey, either. While, yes, he is overperforming his xwOBA when the league as a whole is underperforming it (a normal part of the early going for this metric, as it is not yet calibrated for changes in the ball), he’s third in wOBA but fourth in xwOBA. He has as much OAA as anyone (in the outfield), and is third among right fielders (11th among outfielders) in catch percentage added.

The Braves’ 2021 season has gotten off to a rocky start, but he’s been a must-see phenomenon so far. Come back healthy soon, kid!