Atlanta Braves 4 Worst Defensive Players of 2023 (So Far)

We take a look at the worst defensive players on the best team in baseball so far.
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Ronald Acuna Jr.
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Acuna makes up for his lack of range with great throws and tremendous plays at the wall. But how does a guy setting stolen base records have poor range?

His OAA is all the way down to -5.

Acuna's DEF rating is -6.7.

Acuna has the worst range metric on the entire team. According to Fangraphs, he has the worst range on the team. I said it twice because it seems like it can't be true. Oh, it's true! It's true!

Why I Don't Care About Ronald Acuna Jr.'s Poor Defensive Metrics

It is what it is. My theory on this is that Acuna Jr. plays it safe on some plays due to his injury history. But also, one thing these range stats don't account for is the runs saved by not diving for a ball and missing it. Acuna does tend to play it safe on 50/50 plays. In order to get positive stats on these metrics he needs to risk it all to make plays that other guys don't. Acuna Jr. just doesn't do that.

However, he makes most of the plays he should and tends to play it smart. With the bat he has, I think everyone can agree that playing it smart is fine with us. There are a couple of plays that really dinged him. For example, he lost a flyball in the sky with a 99% catch probability earlier this year against the Blue Jays. That counted as -.99 against him.

So, Yes, Acuna is on the list but don't let it bother you. Other people may talk about it. But don't let it bother you. Acuna is a great player and these stats don't necessarily make him a terrible defender. Just understand how they are measured and use your eyeballs.