As expected, Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. is not in the starting lineup for Friday’s game against the Marlins. He didn’t play on Wednesday or Thursday due to a low-grade right quadriceps strain.
For now, Acuna is considered day to day. But this latest injury follows a minor groin injury that cost Acuna five games. And of course, all of that follows his return from last year’s torn right ACL.
Acuna carries a .292/.400/.446 slash line through 65 at-bats this season. Although he has just two homers so far, Acuna’s bat still carries plenty of thunder; he recorded one of the hardest-hit balls of the season (116.6 mph) earlier this month. His barrel rate on 40 batted-ball events is a robust 20 percent, and his expected slugging percentage is about 80 points higher than his actual slugging percentage.
Conversely, Acuna’s strikeout rate is a career-high 33.8, and his sprint speed is noticeably down from years past. However, that may be more a function of him just taking it easier than usual on the basepaths when he sees such an opportunity. Acuna is 8-for-8 in stolen bases, so any worries about last year’s knee injury sapping his speed and athleticism is likely overblown.
Acuna could return to the Braves’ lineup as soon as Saturday. Let’s just hope the nagging injuries don’t come with him.