How Ronald Acuna Jr.'s strikeout rate has been key so far to his monster 2023 season

Atlanta Braves v Texas Rangers
Atlanta Braves v Texas Rangers / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages
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Even by his lofty standards, what Ronald Acuna Jr. is doing with the Atlanta Braves has been absolutely ludicrous. Through 43 games (197 plate appearances), he is slashing .345/.437/.613 with 11 home runs and 18 stolen bases. He leads the league in fWAR at 2.4 and is second to Yandy Diaz in wRC+ at 181. Right now, he is the runaway favorite in the National League MVP race with the usual "there is still a lot of season to go" caveats.

To be clear, he has always been talented enough to do this. His combination of tools and energy seldom comes around, so when he is on...he is the best player in the league. The biggest thing the last couple of years has been his health and now that he seems to be fully healed up, he is making up for lost time.

While his health is the biggest reason for him going Super Saiyan this year, there is another key component to what he has done and that is his strikeout rate has plummeted this season. Here is a look at what has changed there so far.

Ronald had always struck out a fair bit in his career

It isn't a secret that RAJ goes up to the plate looking to do damage and has been that way since he entered the league. With that approach is going to come some strikeouts and Ronnie did strike out a good bit. Through his first five seasons in the league, Ronald struck out at around a 24-25% clip. Not terrible especially since he got his fair share of walks, too, but not great, either.

While there was a bit of a spike in his strikeout rate in 2020 where it approached 30%, his strikeout rate was pretty consistent and many of us assumed that that was just who he was as a hitter and that was perfectly fine with us.

The 2023 season, at least so far, has been a different story.