Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson opt not to participate in home run derby

Minnesota Twins v Atlanta Braves
Minnesota Twins v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Home run derbies are always a lot of fun to watch especially with the type of power we see now in baseball. It's also great when your favorite player represents your team in those events.

However, there is this superstition that the derby can lead to players messing up their swings. This and the fact that some players just want to enjoy the break, is why some choose to decline the invitation.

That is the case for two Atlanta Braves sluggers. Ronald Acuna Jr and Matt Olson were both given invitations to participate in the 2023 home run derby. It makes sense to invite both players as Olson leads the NL in homers with 28 of them (2nd most in MLB) and Acuna has 21 which is 8th best in all of baseball (6th most in the NL).

It was announced that Acuna would decline the invitation to the derby in 2023 in order to give other players a chance to participate. Ronald did say he would be interested in competing in future events, however.

Another reason, Acuna may want to sit out is to preserve what has been an amazing swing this year. He is putting in work toward a historic season as he's on pace for 41 homers and 73 stolen bases. As David O'Brien points out, no player in MLB history has ever hit more than 30 homers and stolen 60 or more bases in the same season.

I think sitting out and pushing toward that goal is a good reason as well as allowing other talent in Major League Baseball to have an opportunity to showcase their talent. As fun as it would be to see him launch homers in Seattle, that reasoning makes sense.

Matt Olson was also extended the invitation since he is trailing Shohei Ohtani for the league lead in homers. That will definitely get you some attention from the league.

Olson politely declined their invitation as he falls into the category of worrying about messing with his swing. Definitely makes sense as he is in a good place right now and hitting the ball all over the field. Olson would be fun to watch because he would hit nothing but moon shots and have the crowd in awe the entire time.

"Right now, I’m in a place where I’m trusting the work and I’m going out and I’m truly competing."

Matt Olson, Braves First Baseman

He cited not wanting to mess with anything and take away from the progress he's made to get his swing right. Olson feels like he is competing with each and every at-bat and would like to preserve that.

Matt has hit 14 home runs over his last 15 games played for Atlanta. He's driven in 23 runs during that time as well. His slash line sits at .355/.394/.968 over those games. Olson's .932 OPS has him tied with Freddie Freeman for the third-best OPS in all of baseball.

While it stinks that Braves fans won't see two of their best in the home run derby, it makes sense why each player would sit it out. We've been treated to plenty of home runs this season so it will be okay. There will be plenty of homers to go around on July 10th when the home run derby takes place at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.