Concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. error has Braves haters growing louder after Padres loss

Ronald Acuña Jr. needs to figure things out soon before this season spirals out of control.
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

For Atlanta Braves fans, one of the more disappointing things about the 2024 season has been the play of the defending NL MVP, Ronald Acuña Jr. After putting up one of the greatest seasons the sport of baseball has ever seen last year, he has looked very pedestrian in 2024 with a 105 wRC+ and just three homers so far. By his own admission, Acuña Jr. said after Sunday's loss to San Diego that, "I don’t know if it’s timing [of the swing] or not. But right now, I’m not that good.”

Making matters worse, Acuña Jr. has given a lot more fodder than usual to those that seem to be laying in wait for him to make a mistake. He was picked off three consecutive times last week which is definitely a bad look and then he made a pretty egregious error against the Padres on a play that basically should always be made.

Ronald Acuña Jr. just looks completely lost right now

After the game, Acuña Jr. would explain that he seemingly lost the ball in the lights, but also was clear in saying that it was a play he needed to make. It what has become a growing trend, the mental side of his game and his confidence is at an all-time low and many are taking notice of it.

Now some of these are just fans coming out of the woodwork to hate on a guy who are suspiciously quiet when he is going good. However, Braves beat writer Mark Bowman isn't the kind of guy to drag a player for clicks and even he is over the dumb miscues that we are seeing out of Acuña Jr. right now. However, to say that his struggles are because he is so full of himself like some fans are is pretty misguided.

Acuña Jr. knows better than anyone that he isn't playing well right now and it is clearly getting to him. He can't figure out why the pitches he used to crush are getting by him or why he is blundering in the field. His current stretch feels a lot more like the yips than a guy that just doesn't care. Acuña Jr. could have not been candid with the media and blown off his rough stretch like a lot of guys do. He didn't. Instead, the guy went up there and basically said "I stink right now, but I am working to figure it out."

Some of Acuña Jr.'s funk is self-perpetuating (he plays bad, then feels bad, then continues to struggle) and as soon as he gets on a roll, he will find that magic again. The Braves need him to figure things out soon, though, because the Phillies aren't slowing down and this Braves team doesn't look anything like the world-beating roster from years past without him setting the tone at the top of the lineup.

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