A nightmare-ish first half for the Atlanta Braves has come to a rather screeching halt on Saturday as young phenom Ronald Acuna slammed into the wall trying to play a fly ball off of the bat of Marlins infielder Jazz Chisholm. On the fly, Acuna jumped for an acrobatic catch and misjudged it. As he landed awkwardly on his leg, his entire body slammed into the right-field wall. He was immediately helped off the field.
Acuna, still only 23 years of age, was in the midst of perhaps his most dominant season yet. With a 3.4 WAR complimented by a .281/.392/.593 slash, Acuna had a career high 155 OPS+, 24 homeruns and 16 stolen bases in the first half. This earned him the starting nod in Tuesday’s All-Star game, in which he will now require a replacement. The spot on the NL’s active roster has seemingly been given to Padres’ third baseman Manny Machado, as the Padres announced his selection to the squad in the middle of tonight’s ballgame. Machado, now a five-time All-Star dating back to his days in Baltimore, was perhaps the most egregious snub up until now. Machado’s posted a 3.5 WAR, hit 15 longballs and posted a .275/.362/.492 slashline to coincide with his always magnificent defense. Machado’s the fourth player in the NL to be selected as a third baseman primarily, joining Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado, Dodgers’ Justin Turner and Cubs’ Kris Bryant.
For the Braves, they’ll look to salvage their season without their five-tool superstar and navigate their way to a fourth consecutive NL East crown as they sit four games behind the Mets heading into Sunday. The prognosis on Acuna is that he has a complete tear of the ACL. This will take 9-10 months to adequately recover from, eliminating him for the remainder of the 2021 season. This is just another hit to the roster they assembled expecting to compete. The team is still dealing with the fallout of the Marcell Ozuna situation and has had a number of injuries, including a key blow to team ace Mike Soroka. Over his first 394 games in his career, Acuna has hit 105 homeruns, stolen 77 bases, walked 207 times and has a slashline of .281/.375/.549 and broken out as one of the league’s top stars. We at PSE wish Ronnie Baseball the best of luck going forward.