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Sunday, July 11, 2021

Acuña out for ‘21 season with torn ACL

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his right ACL and will be out for the season after surgery to repair it, the Braves announced late Saturday night.

Atlanta’s 5-4 win over Miami on Saturday at loanDepot park lifted the Braves to .500 on the season, but it was a costly one.

Acuña exited the game in the bottom of the fifth inning after attempting to corral a ball off the bat of Jazz Chisholm Jr., who ended up with an inside-the-park home run on the play.

The Braves were able to hang on to their lead, largely in part to Freddie Freeman’s second homer in as many days in the top of the fifth inning, but after the game, the club was left wondering about the severity of the injury to its star outfielder as he underwent tests, which we now know is a worst-case scenario.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 11, 2021 at 10:45 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ronald acuna

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   1. The Duke Posted: July 11, 2021 at 10:58 AM (#6028574)
This is a bad injury for a guy who relies on his athleticism. I hope he makes a full recovery.

Been an unlucky year for them and highlights why you must go all-in when you have the chance. One game away and now they seem SO far from returning to the World Series with two stars having big injuries and Ozuna being sidelined, likely for one to two years.
   2. pikepredator Posted: July 11, 2021 at 11:48 AM (#6028577)
I hope he makes a full recovery.

agreed, of course. Acuna has such massive potential . . . I love seeing young stars who are jaw-droppingly good. This puts a dent in the dream of seeing him hit heights nobody else has.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 11, 2021 at 11:56 AM (#6028580)
This puts a dent in the dream of seeing him hit heights nobody else has.

Well, if you expect that from great young players, you're going to be disappointed an awful lot. Just enjoy the guys when they're on the field, and when they get hurt or don't perform, enjoy somebody else. Very few of my favorite players are all-time greats. Super-stars are boring in their own way.
   4. and Posted: July 11, 2021 at 02:07 PM (#6028586)
Damn. Glad he signed his contract and hope he fully recovers.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 11, 2021 at 02:44 PM (#6028590)
Glad he signed his contract …
That contract was justifiably panned, here & elsewhere, as undervaluing Acuna, but it does look a bit better now. He’s due a minimum of $93M through 2026, even if the Braves decline their options on the two following seasons. Athletes do fully recover after ACL surgery, but there’s no guarantee, and he’ll miss close to a full season.
   6. Dr. Pooks Posted: July 11, 2021 at 04:45 PM (#6028614)
Marcus Stroman tore his ACL doing fielding drills in ST in 2015 and returned almost 6 months to the day in September of that same year to make 4 starts for the Jays before their playoff run.

I don't think there's been any noticeable decline in Stroman's performance post-ACL tear, although the demands of starting pitchers vs right fielders are very different.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: July 11, 2021 at 05:31 PM (#6028625)
The main impact will be on his speed, meaning it's almost certain he won't ever return to CF and he probably won't steal 20 again. If the surgery goes well, it probably won't have much impact on his hitting. (He doesn't hit a lot of triples, I assume not a huge number of IF hits so speed doesn't play much of a role there.) A key question is how well the re-constructed knee ages.

The contract he signed was fine. It was one of a few around that time but I think it was the most for a player with his service time (before Tatis). He's a super-2 and they guaranteed him $57 M through those years which is only about $5 M less than what Bryant has gotten with all of that difference being Bryant setting the record for 1st-year arb. It's only about $2M less than Arenado's super-2. Like all of these deals it's ridiculously team-friendly in the FA years if things went right but still guaranteed him 2/$44 which I believe is pretty good compared with most of these deals (the $10 M buyout is quite big). The major downside is having to wait until 31 to become an FA.

You may have been thinking of the Albies buyout which was ludicrously cheap. Mainly what you look for is either the player gets guaranteed "full-price" arb years but loses on the FA years or the player loses on the arb years but gets "full-price" FA years although I'm not sure there are any examples of the latter (Stanton sorta but that was signed after more service time). Then it's down to the number of option years which is where Acuna gets a bit screwed but 2 guaranteed FA years and 2 options is pretty standard.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: July 12, 2021 at 02:36 AM (#6028695)
In fact, comp to Tatis on the contract.

Acuna had less than one year service time when he signed his. He was guaranteed $100 M for his last 2 pre-arb years, 4 arb years, 2 FA years. If the options are exercised, he gets another $124.

Tatis signed his after two full years' service time. If we assign all of his signing bonus to his "standard extension years", he gets $124 M through his first 2 FA years ... essentially the same deal to that point. Of course after that the real money kicks in at 8/$288 left.

So Acuna, signing two years earlier, signed for the first half of Tatis' contract. Obviously that's a lot worse than Tatis' contract but it's not exactly chump change. Who knows what AAVs will look like in 2029 when Acuna goes FA, but he probably won't get 8 years given his age. There's a good chance the Padres will be trying to trade Tatis around that time -- it's got a lot in common with Stanton's contract.
   9. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: July 12, 2021 at 10:00 AM (#6028713)
I don't think a 22-23 year old is going to lose much of anything long term in terms of speed or agility. Skill position players in the NFL come back from ACL tears relatively often, if a WR or a RB can do it so can a RF or a CF. If he's limited on the other side it would likely have more to do with coaches choosing not to take risks.
   10. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: July 12, 2021 at 10:21 AM (#6028719)
8. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: June 28, 2021 at 07:44 PM (#6026757)
The Braves have been kind of snakebite this year. Freeman is merely good, rather than MVP-level, and Ozuna was bad, then suspended. Everyone else has been about where you’d expect. On the pitching side, the starters have been fine and the bullpen average.

They’re a couple games under their Pythagorean, but can’t seem to get any momentum. Soroka nEver made it back, Fried has been on and off the IL, and Ozuna got arrested and probably ended his own careeer.

The only good news is that ACL's seem to have routine recoveries now.

   11. Walt Davis Posted: July 12, 2021 at 07:38 PM (#6028829)
#9 ... it always costs speed. Sometimes you get back to, say, 95%; sometimes just 90; sometimes it doesn't go well at all. He's already a guy who's never made more than 2/3 of his starts in CF, has made only one start there this year. The chances were already low that he was gonna ever be a regular CF, a knee injury reduces that chance to close to zero. (Yes, that was in part due to the formerly elite Inciarte on the roster but this year they've been starting Heredia in CF over him as well.)

A link ... that one is mostly about re-injury risk though.

Or from this article (the bit on baseball is minimal and far from convincing)

With the highest rate of return to play in professional sports, nine out of 10 MLB players will return to the field after an ACL injury. ... But even in a sport where most are able to return, performance can be affected. For MLB position players, an injury to the rear batting leg – the side that generates swing power – resulted in a 12% decline in batting average. Oddly, those who had surgery for a lead leg injury had a 6% increase in batting average in the season after the injury. Much like the bump in performance frequently seen after Tommy John surgery, the researchers speculated that the rehab program might have benefited the non-surgical leg, resulting in improved strength and performance.

In the NFL, like other sports, a lasting return to play is also influenced by the player’s pre-injury position – 20% of running backs and wide receivers never return to the NFL and for those that do return, performance drops by a third. However, because their performance is less tied to lower body speed and explosiveness, 12 out of the 13 of NFL quarterbacks studied after ACL surgeries were able to resume playing at pre-injury levels.

On the defensive side of the ball, just published research by the Aune and the American Sports Medicine Institute, the injury research think tank started by Dr James Andrews, indicates that 72% of NFL defensive players return to play at least one game after an ACL injury. But behind that relatively optimistic stat, the news isn’t good for those players on the margins. Average NFL players that tore an ACL saw their performance drop to below average.

Generally, those who successfully returned were above-average NFL players before their injury but relatively average after their return. In other words, after an ACL surgery, a Pro Bowl level defensive player regresses to the performance level of an average player and an average player drops below the NFL standard.
   12. sunday silence (again) Posted: July 12, 2021 at 08:30 PM (#6028838)
OTOH Acuna has elite speed. Per statcast he's around 96th percentile for position players. THere's only about 7 CFers that are faster than him. If you ranked him as a CF he'd be about 90th percentile. And he's still very young. I wouldnt write him off from CF just yet.
   13. JJ1986 Posted: July 12, 2021 at 08:37 PM (#6028842)
The Braves do have an All-World defensive CF as a prospect, though Pache may never hit enough to start.
   14. sunday silence (again) Posted: July 12, 2021 at 08:57 PM (#6028853)
Inciarte hasnt been an elite CF since 2018, although in his early years he might have reached the Jones Line of elite CFs, saving about 30 runs/year if we extrapolate him to 150 games. Incidentally Robles is already at 20 def runs per OAA metric.

Its hard to say what Acuna's def limitations are. THe metrics dont really agree. BIS seems to say he's about 5 def runs above avg per year. But OAA say's he's down 2 runs for the first half of this year. He doesnt seem to have great range, and his arm is a bit below avg in assists. Although he's good at holding runners. Perhaps he doesnt track balls very well?
   15. Ron J Posted: July 13, 2021 at 01:23 AM (#6028905)
#14 Not exactly uncommon for a fast guy to be nothing special defensively because he doesn't read the ball particularly well.

Dave Collins was the most interesting of that type of player for me to watch. Always seemed to me that he was aware of his limitations and played to give himself the best shot at outrunning his bad reads.
   16. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: July 13, 2021 at 01:30 AM (#6028906)
#14 Not exactly uncommon for a fast guy to be nothing special defensively because he doesn't read the ball particularly well.

Dave Collins was the most interesting of that type of player for me to watch. Always seemed to me that he was aware of his limitations and played to give himself the best shot at outrunning his bad reads.

Bernie Williams seemed to have slow reaction time. Maybe it was actually a failure to read the ball well.
   17. sunday silence (again) Posted: July 13, 2021 at 08:22 PM (#6028982)

#14 Not exactly uncommon for a fast guy to be nothing special defensively because he doesn't read the ball particularly well.

Oh yeah I dont disagree. Im just trying to find some positives for Acuna. On the one hand, he's got so much speed he could lose a step and still cover CF. OTOH he seems to lack certain skills, could he learn? Maybe? but how often does that happen? So its hard to tell if he could develop his skills to play a good CF. I wouldnt write him off.
   18. Adam Starblind Posted: July 14, 2021 at 09:30 AM (#6029021)
#14 Not exactly uncommon for a fast guy to be nothing special defensively because he doesn't read the ball particularly well.

Dave Collins was the most interesting of that type of player for me to watch. Always seemed to me that he was aware of his limitations and played to give himself the best shot at outrunning his bad reads.

Roger Cedeno was inner circle in terms of blazing speed/stomach churning outfield defense combo.

   19. Ron J Posted: July 14, 2021 at 11:33 AM (#6029031)
#18. Sorry that honor belongs to Lonnie Smith.

From the 1986 Abstract:

[...] I will say, though, that the real cost of Lonnie's defense is not nearly as great as the psychic impact of it. He makes you wail and gnash your teeth a lot, but he really doesn't cost you all that many runs. One reason is that he recovers so quickly after he makes a mistake. You have to understand that Lonnie makes defensive mistakes every game; he knows how to handle it. I mean, your average outfielder is inclined to panic when he falls down chasing a ball in the corner; he may just give up and set there for a while, trying to figure it out. Lonnie has a pop-up slide perfected for the occasion. Another outfielder might have no idea where the ball was when it bounded of his glove; Lonnie can calculate with the instinctive astrophysics of a veteran tennis player where a ball will land when it skips off the heel of his glove, what the angle of glide will be when he tips it off the webbing, what the spin will be when the ball skids of the thumb of the mitt. Many players can kick the ball behind them without ever knowing it; Lonnie can judge by the pitch of the thud and the subtle pressure through his shoe in which direction and how far he has projected the sphere. He knows exactly what to do when a ball spins out of his hand and flies crazily into a void on the field, when it is appropriate to scamper after the ball and when he needs to back up the man who will have to recover it. He has experience in these matters; when he retires he will be hired to come to spring training and coach defensive recovery and cost containment. This is his specialty and he is good at it.
   20. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: July 14, 2021 at 11:39 AM (#6029032)
Not exactly uncommon for a fast guy to be nothing special defensively because he doesn't read the ball particularly well.

I don't know if we have Statcast data to back this up, but the overall defensive numbers (supported by my personal eyeball test) for Mike Trout seem to indicate this is the case for him. He put up fantastic defensive numbers in his first couple seasons because he was blazingly fast and he also got a bit lucky in being able to rob a lot of homeruns. The actually robbery wasn't luck - it was incredible athleticism - but he was fortunate to get that many "robbable" opportunities. He's since lost a step or two and simply doesn't get to a lot of balls you think he should, and it seems like it takes him an extra split second to read the ball off the bat. I think this is the same thing with his declining base stealing ability - he is still fast but can't get great jumps off of pitchers.
   21. sunday silence (again) Posted: July 14, 2021 at 01:54 PM (#6029053)
the last article I read on Trout was that he was getting bad jumps so he had set out to work on that and that he had improved in that area. This must have been 2020 but perhaps 2019.

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