Ronald Acuna has had a hot homer start for the Atlanta Braves in this 2021 season. How well does that rank in the franchise’s history?
His 15 home runs stand as the top figure among National League hitters as of this writing — it also begs the question about whether other Braves have been hotter to start a season… or at least their own first 50 games.
As torrid a pace that Acuna was on, he’ll actually have to have a couple more breakout performances this week to break the franchise record:
According to figures obtained from baseball-reference.com (with a strong hat tip to Fred Owens for the assist), here are the Braves “Fast 50” homer leaders:
- 19 homers — Javy Lopez (2003) and Eddie Mathews (twice: 1953 and 1959)
- 18 homers — Henry Aaron (1966) and Wally Berger (1930)
- 17 homers — Freddie Freeman (2017), Andres Galarraga (1998), Aaron (1970), Wes Covington (1958)
- 16 homers — Adam Duvall (2020), Austin Riley (2019), plus Ryan Klesko, Ozzie Virgil, Aaron (3 times), and Mathews
At 15 homers, Acuna is in a group tied for slots 18-25. Aaron is noted in this group another three times.
Other than the point of seeing how Acuna is doing this year, I suppose the sub-headline is that this simply proves — again — just how great Henry Aaron was since he appears on this list a total of 8 times among these 25 different hitter-seasons!
But as this list checks on the homer-hitters in their own first 50 games of the year — not necessarily the team’s first 50 — Acuna still has a few days to most up this list.
Pitching will matter, of course: he faces Taijuan Walker tonight, possibly Jacob deGrom on Sunday, and then some tough matchups in Washington. So he’ll certainly earn the mark if he does homer again through next Wednesday’s game.
Through 2 plate appearances tonight… a full-count single and a full-count called strikeout.