Ronald Acuña Jr. stats, explained: Inside the history of Braves star’s 40 home run/70 steal season

Sometimes, baseball fans are lucky enough to watch the truly elite players join baseball’s elite clubs. Like last season, when Albert Pujols joined the 700-home run club. Or in 2012, when Miguel Cabrera entered the fraternity of Triple Crown winners.

But sometimes, when we’re really lucky, we get to watch an elite player create his own club, and that’s what Ronald Acuña Jr. has done this season. He’s done it a couple of times, actually. He became the first member of the 30/60 club (30 homers, 60 stolen bases) but he wasn’t done there. He has now invented the 40/70 club.

This is what it looks like when a truly elite talent is driven, focused and stays healthy for an entire season. It’s not solely that Acuña is the first member of the 40/70 club that is so impressive. It’s how much better his season has been than any other power/speed combo season in baseball history. 

And, yes, MLB’s new rules designed to increase stolen bases haven’t hurt Acuña. But let’s not just off-hand discount his accomplishments. It’s not suddenly easier to hit home runs. Catchers are still as good as ever. 

Here’s what Acuña is: Exactly the type of player baseball wants. Exactly the type of player baseball needs. He’s must-watch at the plate, and he’s must-watch on the bases. He makes the game exciting, and he’s doing so in a way nobody ever has in baseball history, when it comes to two of the most exciting plays in the sport, home runs and stolen bases.

MORE: Braves historic offense among the best ever

Let’s take a look behind the numbers to show how special Acuña, who turns 26 during the offseason, has been this summer. We’ll start with the power. 

Ronald Acuña Jr. home run stats

Here’s a list of the most stolen bases ever by a player with at least 40 home runs.

Rank Name Steals
1. Ronald Acuña Jr., 2023 70
2. Alex Rodriguez, 1998 46
3. Alfonso Soriano, 2006 41
T-4 Barry Bonds, 1996 40
T-4 Jose Canseco, 1988 40

Quite the stolen base gap, eh? Lower the threshold to 30 homers and a few new names pop in. Legendary names. Still nobody even close to 70 swipes, though.

Rank Name Steals
1. Ronald Acuña Jr., 2023 70
2. Barry Bonds, 1990 52
3.  Eric Davis, 1987 50
4. Mike Trout, 2012 49
5. Alex Rodriguez, 1998 46

Worth noting that another young rising star is on the verge of getting his name on this list in the final few days of the season. Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City’s 23-year-old shortstop, has 29 homers and 48 stolen bases this year. Oh, and Corbin Carroll, Arizona’s rookie sensation, has 25 homers and 51 stolen bases. 

This is the first season in baseball history with at least three players who have 25-plus home runs and 45-plus stolen bases. Really is incredible. 

Now, let’s go the other way.

Ronald Acuña Jr. stolen base stats

We’ll start with a look at the most home runs by a player with at least 70 stolen bases. 

Rank Name HRs
1. Ronald Acuña Jr., 2023 41
2. Rickey Henderson, 1986 28
3. Eric Davis, 1986 27
4. Rickey Henderson, 1985 24
5. Lou Brock, 1966 15

Again, pretty big gap, the difference between 28 and 41 homers.

Have to mention Eric Davis here. That 1986 season, when he hit 27 homers and had 80 stolen bases … he only played 132 games because of injuries. Yeah. What could he have done with another 30 games? Another 20? Oh, and did you notice how he was on the other list earlier in this piece, with his 37-homer, 50-stolen base season of 1987? He only played 129 games that year. Few players in the history of baseball were as consistently snakebit with injuries over the course of their career than Davis, who was just an otherworldly talent. 

Have to stop myself here, because I’ve already written about how we were robbed of seeing a fully healthy Eric Davis, and how the sport is worse for it. No time for a rant now.

If you lower the threshold to 60 stolen bases, and you have seven seasons — but just four players — of at least 20 homers.

Rank Name HRs
1. Ronald Acuña Jr., 2023 41
2. Rickey Henderson, 1986 28
3. Rickey Henderson, 1990 28
4. Eric Davis, 1986 27
5. Joe Morgan, 1976 27
6. Joe Morgan, 1973 26
7. Rickey Henderson 24

 Aside: Rickey Henderson really was special, wasn’t he? 

The 110 club

If you add the stolen bases and home runs together, Acuña has 110. That’s another club he’s joined, and though he’s not the founding member, it’s still pretty elite. Here’s a list of every player in the 110 club (after 1900).

Rank Name Total (Steals/HR)
1. Rickey Henderson, 1982 140 (130/10)
2. Lou Brock, 1974 121 (118/3)
3. Rickey Henderson, 1983 117 (108/9)
4. Rickey Henderson, 1986 115 (87/28)
5. Vince Coleman, 1987 112 (109/3)
T-6 Vince Coleman, 1985 111 (110/1)
T-6 Ronald Acuña Jr., 2023 111 (70/41)
8. Maury Wills, 1962 110 (104/6)

It’s hard to talk about speed/power combo and mention Vince Coleman and Acuña in the same sentence with a straight face, isn’t it? The elite power/speed 110 club, with any reasonable definition of power, has two members — Henderson and Acuña Jr. 

Yeah, that’s pretty good company. 

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