Can the Braves or Acuña Survive this Injury?

The devastating news hit the baseball world like a thunderbolt on a sunny day – Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr., the reigning National League MVP, will miss the remainder of the 2024 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee. This is the second time in less than three years that the electrifying 25-year-old has suffered a season-ending ACL injury, leaving the Braves and their fans reeling from losing one of the game’s most transcendent talents.

Acuña’s injury not only impacts the fortunes of the Braves but also sends shockwaves through the entire National League landscape. The Braves must again navigate life without their dynamic centerpiece.

Can the Braves or Acuña Survive This Latest Injury?

The news of Acuña’s second ACL tear in less than three years was met with a collective gasp of disbelief across the baseball community. The reaction was pure heartbreak, not just for Acuña but for the Braves organization and their World Series quest.

Acuna injured his ACL in the 82nd game of the 2021 season, and he would miss the rest of the season; the Braves would go on to beat the Brewers and Dodgers, then take the World Series from the Astros.

When Acuna went down in 2021, general manager Alex Anthopoulos responded with a flurry of aggressive moves, acquiring a platoon of outfielders that included the likes of Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, and Adam Duvall to compensate. They must be aggressive until the trade deadline but have a blueprint to get through this. It’s still the most devastating blow to the organization, losing Strider to his second Tommy John and now Acuna to his second ACL; their best two young players will probably never be the same.

Acuna won the MVP last year with 71 steals and 41 home runs, silencing all doubters that he could return from his initial injury. It was not an easy recovery road, though. Looking at Acunas 2022, he struggled, looked slow, and outright uncomfortable. He finished that season with a .266 Avg, 15 HR, and just 29 steals while being caught stealing 11 times—one in four attempts. When Acuna returns, it will be two years before he is a real threat again, and the Braves will probably move him to DH.

This injury changes the landscape of the National League pennant race, with the Phillies and Dodgers now emerging as the primary favorites. The Phillies should be outright rejoicing with this development; they currently hold a six-game lead over the banged-up Braves. The Braves hold a solid grip on a wild card at the moment, but the Padres and Giants are now changing their trade deadline game plans.

It’s not all bleak devastation in Atlanta, catcher Sean Murphy and Austin Riley have returned to lineup rolling their injuries. Then there is light at the end of the tunnel; that light is Luis Roberts of the White Sox. He is injured but available, he will be expensive, but he puts the Braves right back in contention.

Main Image: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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