ATLANTA–The Braves are riding high on a wave of good, and potentially great news.
Late Sunday, first baseman Freddie Freeman, center fielder Ender Inciarte and right fielder Nick Markakis earned Gold Gloves for the recently completed season.
And on Monday, the flow of positive tidings extended to Ronald Acuna Jr. and Brian Snitker, who became finalists for the ‘Rookie of the Year’ and ‘Manager of the Year’ awards, respectively.
If 11Alive Sports were to handicap the upcoming awards, Acuna resembles the stronger bet to bring home the hardware.
In just 111 major-league games, the 20-year-old Acuna accounted for 26 homers, 64 RBI, 78 runs, 16 steals and four triples, along with superb tallies involving batting average (.293), on-base percentage (.366), slugging (.552) and OPS rate (.917).
And when recalling Acuna’s excellence from Year 1, one otherworldly stretch stands out:
From Aug. 8-14, Acuna cracked eight homers, 15 RBI and 13 runs … along with absurd numbers for batting average (.471), OBP (.514) and OPS (1.749).
When reviewing the season, it likely stands as the most prolific one-week explosion of any major leaguer.
As such, it’s hard to envision 19-year-old phenom Juan Soto (22 HR, 70 RBI, 77 runs, 5 steals, .406 OBP) eclipsing Acuna with the ROY voting, even though the seasonal stat lines were similar.
Snitker will contend with Craig Counsell (Brewers) and Bud Black (Rockies) for ‘Manager of the Year’ honors.
All three skippers led their respective clubs to 90-plus victories; so let’s determine the possible winner from another standpoint:
BRAVES: 72 wins in 2017 … 90 in 2018
ROCKIES: 87 wins in 2017 … 91 in 2018
BREWERS: 86 wins in 2017 … 96 in 2018 (No. 1 seed in NL playoffs)
The winners for both awards will become public next week.