The Atlanta Braves have lost their best player to a season-ending injury. Ronald Acuña Jr. exited Saturday afternoon's game against the Miami Marlins with a right knee injury after attempting a leaping catch in right field. He jumped for the ball, landed awkwardly, then went down to the warning track in obvious pain.
Later Saturday night, the Braves announced Acuña suffered a complete ACL tear in his right knee. Tests revealed the extent of the injury and he will undergo season-ending surgery. Here's video of the play that caused the injury, which went for an inside-the-park home run for Marlins infielder Jazz Chisholm:
Acuña remained on the ground for several minutes and initially attempted to walk off the field under his own power, though he walked with a limp and was in discomfort. Eventually he had to be carted off. Non-contact knee injuries are rarely minor and that is the case here. One of the baseball's best players will be out until 2022.
With Saturday's win (ATL 5, MIA 4), Atlanta improved to 44-44 on the season, and they're four games behind a postseason spot. Needless to say, losing Acuña is devastating to their postseason hopes. Here's what SportsLine says about the impact of Acuña's injury:
|Win total||Postseason odds||NL East title odds||World Series odds|
Braves with Acuña
Braves without Acuña
The Braves are already without Marcell Ozuna, who is out with a finger injury and is also awaiting an investigation under MLB's domestic violence policy, and catchers Travis d'Arnaud and Alex Jackson. Abraham Almonte, Guillermo Heredia, and Ender Inciarte are the other outfielders on the club's active roster. Utility men Ehire Adrianza and Orlando Arcia can play the outfield as well.
Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos tends to be aggressive at the trade deadline and it stands to reason he'll look for outfield help prior to the July 30 deadline. Potential trade targets include Joc Pederson (Cubs), Mitch Haniger (Mariners), Kole Calhoun and David Peralta (Diamondbacks), and Starling Marte (Marlins). Pederson, Calhoun, and Marte are rentals.
Acuña, 23, is simply one of the best players in baseball, taking a .281/.392/.593 batting line with 24 home runs and 16 stolen bases into Saturday's game. Fans voted him into the All-Star Game as a starter, and he's having the type of season that would have earned him serious MVP consideration.