Atlanta Braves: Why Ronald Acuna Jr. Ranks in Bottom 5% in Outs Above Average (OAA)

We explain why Ronald Acuna Jr. ranks as one of the worst outfielders in the MLB when it comes to range. How does the SB leader have no range? We explain.

Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers
Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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Ronald Acuna Jr. Defense - Video Evidence

Ronald Acuna, Jr.
New York Yankees v Atlanta Braves / Michael Zarrilli/GettyImages

Let me start by directing you to a really cool page. The fielding section of Ronald Acuna Jr.'s Baseball Savant player page. If you scroll down, you can see a chart showing the catch probability for Acuna's plays this season.

Now, I would like to direct your eyeballs to video evidence of plays Acuna didn't make that most major-league outfielders would have.

Exhibit A - Acuna Can't Make the Play on a High Fly with 99% Catch Probability

Exhibit A - The catch probability on (the video is in the "Exhibit A" link) Exhibit A is 99%. So watch the video and just know that based on the distance he needed to travel and the time the ball was in the air, 99% of major-league outfielders would have made this play.

You can see Acuna makes a bad read backward, then he freezes for an odd amount of time and then goes on a sprint toward the ball. Even the announcers were shocked. This is a good example because a lot of camera shots don't cut to the outfielder quickly enough to show the initial read.

Exhibit B - Acuna Pulls up on Flyball with 99% Catch Probability

Exhibit B - Here Acuna pulls up on a ball that most players would catch. I included this one because we have seen this a lot from Acuna this year. They aren't always on 95% catch probabilities, but this one is.

Exhibit C - Acuna Gives Jason Heyward a Hit by Pulling up on Flyball with 95% Catch Probability.

Exhibit C - Here is the ball he pulled up on against the Dodgers. Jason Heyward hit a "routine flyball" as the announcer said. Acuna pulled up and let it fall. This is a ball most major-league outfielders are going to catch. When I saw Acuna stop short on this ball on Sunday, it brought back memories of the research I had done. That ball should have been caught, especially with Acuna's speed.