’70-Run Pace’ Akuna Isn’t ML’s No. 1? Bae Ji-Hwan Is ‘ML’s Top 5’ With These Players

Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves) has an insane stolen base pace. Bae Ji-Hwan (Pittsburgh Pirates) is also a very good stealer, but Akuna is better at getting away with it, and he’s not the only one in the majors.

Acuna went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two stolen bases against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 2023 Major League Baseball game at Chase Field in Arizona, California, on Friday. He stole his 25th base of the season in the top of the seventh inning and his 26th base of the season in the top of the ninth inning. Akuna’s two stolen bases proved to be nutritious, as Atlanta scored a run after the steal.

Bae also stole his 16th and 17th bases of the season, tying him with Starling Marte (New York Mets) for second in the National League in stolen bases. It was his first multi-steal game in a while. However, Bae still trails Akuna by nine. In the National League, it’s a one-man show.

Acuna has played in all 59 of Atlanta’s games this season, stealing 26 bases. If he plays in all 103 remaining games, he could add another 45.4 steals, giving him 71.4 for the season. It will be 14 years since Jacoby Ellsbury (70 steals) in 2009.

But who is the “madman” ahead of Akuna? Esther Ruiz (24, Oakland Athletics). In 60 games this season, Ruiz is batting .267 with 63 hits in 236 at-bats, one home run, 25 RBI, 25 runs scored, 28 stolen bases, and a .676 OPS.

Ruiz has stolen 28 bases in 33 attempts this season with five caught stealing. He spent the 2022 season with the San Diego Padres and 안전놀이터 Milwaukee Brewers before becoming the starting outfielder for Oakland this season. Unlike Acuna, he’s not a very consistent hitter.

However, he has been consistent with 11 steals in April and 17 in May. He was more than five runs behind Akuna at the start of the season, but he has allowed a lot of runs to slip away. He hasn’t added a stolen base in three straight games since the first day in Atlanta. At his current pace, he’s likely to overtake Acuna.

Still, he’s a comfortable first in the American League. Second place to date is Wander Franco (Tampa Bay Rays) with 21 steals, third is Bobby Whitt Jr. (Kansas City Royals) with 18, and fourth is George Mateo (Baltimore Orioles) and Whit Merrifield (Toronto Blue Jays) with at least 16.

In any case, Bae is in the top five in all of Major League Baseball after two months of the season with such a great lineup. He’s tied for fifth behind Ruiz, Acuna, Franco, and Whit. If Bae keeps this pace, he could easily reach 30-40 stolen bases on the season.

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