Atlanta Braves: Should Ronald Acuna Jr. be Playing in Venezuelan Winter League?
Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. is coming off of a down season due to recovery from a torn ACL. After four games in the Venezuelan Winter League, he’s looking pretty healthy.
Atlanta Braves OF Ronald Acuna Jr. is coming off of a bit of a down season (per his standards) due to his recovery from a torn ACL in 2021. Read about the ups and downs of his 2022 season here.
Some openly wondered whether allowing Acuna Jr. to DH in five games in the Venezuelan Winter League was a bad idea, considering the pain he dealt with throughout the entirety of the 2022 season.
After four games, it appears Acuna is benefiting from the time he’s had to rest since the Braves were eliminated in the NLDS. He is slashing .462/.533/.692… that’s fun.
He also appears to be relishing in the energy of playing for his hometown team Tiburones de La Guaira. In his hometown, the kid is kind of a legend.
Although he was not scheduled to play until the next day, an opportunity to blow the game open could not be passed on Tuesday night.
Look at the electricity in this pinch-hit three-run home run.
It is a great sign to see the energy and to see the swing looking smooth.
While Acuna Jr.’s 2022 was in no way a bad season (.266/.351/.413) it wasn’t up to par with the level of production Acuna typically brings. It was his worst defensive performance of his career, lowest slugging percentage, and he was caught stealing more than anyone in the league. The leg was definitely bothering him. He was quoted in September describing it as “terrible” knee pain.
As for the concerns about Acuna aggravating the injury in the Venezuelan Winter League, I would lay those to rest. Acuna is well beyond the recovery time for a surgically repaired ACL and he’s not playing the field, per the stipulations from the Braves.
There is always a risk that he could reinjure himself running the bases, but he isn’t playing the outfield which minimizes the risk and getting some playing time should help him continue to rebuild strength and confidence in his knee. Hopefully, this is one more step to him regaining his pre-ACL form in 2023. I look forward to seeing him pimp homers and stutter-step at third base for Atlanta next season.
Should Acuna be playing in Winter ball after dealing with pain all season? Let us know in the comments.