Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. had to be carted off the field after suffering an apparent injury to his right leg or knee in Saturday’s game against the Marlins. Acuna suffered the injury while trying to make a leaping catch of a Jazz Chisholm fly ball that instead went for an inside-the-park homer. Acuna attempted to walk off the field under his own power, but he had to halt midway to the dugout, and was visibly in pain as he sat on the ground.
More will be known about Acuna’s status after the game, but at first glance it certainly looks like a potential season-ending injury for the superstar outfielder. This is actually the fourth time Acuna has had to make an early exit from a game this season due to an injury, but while those previous instances resulted in just a couple of missed games, Saturday’s injury appears to be much more serious in scope.
Acuna is enjoying yet another huge all-around season, one that earned him a starting nod on the NL All-Star team. The 23-year-old has hit .283/.394/.596 with 24 home runs over 360 plate appearances, along with 17 stolen bases and an NL-leading 72 runs scored. Only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. had accumulated more fWAR this season than Acuna’s 3.9 mark, further cementing his status as one of the sport’s brightest talents.
Unfortunately for Acuna and the Braves, it now seems as if his fourth MLB season will be at least put on hold, and quite possibly over altogether. It isn’t a reach to say that the Braves’ fate is tied to Acuna, and if the outfielder is indeed facing a long-term absence, Atlanta might decide to throw in the towel and decide to sell at the July 30 trade deadline. Atlanta entered Saturday’s play 4.5 games behind the Mets for first place in the NL East, but the Braves have only a 43-44 record, and (according to Fangraphs) a 14.8% chance of reaching the postseason.
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