Ronald Acuña Jr. Stakes Claim to Title of Best Baseball Player on the Planet

Boston Red Sox v Atlanta Braves
Boston Red Sox v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

Ronald Acuña Jr. struggled through a bit of a down year in 2022 as he recovered from a torn ACL suffered midway through the 2021 season. That hangover from the injury didn't last long, though. Roughly a quarter of the way through the 2023 season, the Atlanta Braves outfielder leads Major League Baseball in a whole host of offensive categories and has fully staked his claim to the title of Best Baseball Player on the Planet.

Through 40 games played, Acuña is hitting .346 with a .437 on-base percentage, while slugging .577. That's an OPS of 1.014. He has eight home runs, 23 RBI along with 17 stolen bases. What's even more insane is that he has 24 walks while only striking out 24 times. He's absolutely on fire and making up for lost time statistically.

Acuña currently leads baseball in: WAR (2.7), offensive WAR (2.4), on-base percentage (.437), hits (54), total bases (90), times on base (80), runs created (43), runs scored (36), offensive win percentage (.818) and situational wins added (1.8).

Acuña is also close to the top in a number of categories. He's second in batting average (.346), second in fWAR (2.3), second in stolen bases (17), second in adjusted OPS+ (188), third in OPS (1.014), third in wRC+ (174), third in extra base hits (20) and fourth in slugging percentage (.577).

Not even Shohei Ohtani has been as impactful as Acuña this season, and that's saying something. While Ohtani will be referred to as the best player on the planet for years to come, Acuña is having the type of season to give people pause on just handing out that crown.

It's early in the season but Acuña is on pace for one of the best offensive seasons in the post-steroids era. Finally someone has Ohtani looking over his shoulder.