Ronald Acuña Jr. Suffers Season-Ending Injury: What’s Next for the Atlanta Braves?

Atlanta, Georgia – Reigning National League MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. This injury is a significant setback for the Atlanta Braves, who are already without ace pitcher Spencer Strider for the 2024 season.

Acuña’s left knee buckled between second and third base as he attempted a steal during the first inning of the game against the Pirates. This latest ACL tear comes less than three years after Acuña suffered a similar injury to his right knee while making a catch in right field.

Known as one of the best players in Major League Baseball, Acuña played a crucial role for the Braves, who were considered strong contenders for the World Series this season. In 2021, despite losing Acuña to injury, the Braves managed to make the postseason and eventually won the championship.

Before his injury, Acuña had an exceptional 2023 season, batting .337 with 41 home runs, 106 RBIs, and 73 stolen bases. His performance earned him the NL MVP award unanimously. His absence leaves a significant void in the Braves’ lineup, as the team has struggled to find consistency in the current season.

The Braves, despite Acuña’s injury, have managed a 30-20 record, thanks in part to standout performances from pitchers Chris Sale and Reynaldo Lopez. Sale, acquired in a trade, and Lopez, a free agent signing, have bolstered the Braves’ pitching staff, helping fill the void left by Strider’s absence due to Tommy John surgery.

Acuña’s injury adds to the challenges the Braves face as they strive to maintain their competitiveness in the NL East. The team must now rely on other core hitters, like Marcell Ozuna, Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, and Michael Harris II, to step up and fill the void left by Acuña’s absence.

Acuña’s future remains uncertain as he faces another lengthy recovery process. Despite hopes of securing a new contract that reflects his status as one of the top players in the league, contract negotiations have not materialized. Acuña’s injury serves as a reminder of the physical demands and risks that come with playing at the highest level of professional baseball.