Ronald Acuña Jr. made the right call by putting the Atlanta Braves ahead of Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
While Ronald Acuña Jr. is not going to suit up for his native Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, this is actually great news for the Atlanta Braves.
Though he may have wanted to play for his country, prioritizing his club is absolutely the right call. Acuña battled through all of last season, in and out of the Braves lineup. He was not even 12 months removed from tearing his ACL when he made his Atlanta return mid-season last year. Initially, he had to serve as the DH before playing as often as his knee would allow him to in right.
Given that the doctors and training staff said it was not a good idea to play in the World Baseball Classic, Acuña listened to their advice and it will sit out the international tournament.
Ronald Acuña Jr. will not be playing in the World Baseball Classic for Venezuela
Acuña confirmed his decision to sit out the World Baseball Classic during Braves Fest on Saturday. He seemed to be upbeat and in good spirits during the fan-centric event at The Battery. Acuña would then go from the Cumberland area to Downtown Atlanta to watch the Atlanta Hawks take on the Charlotte Hornets. This allowed for Acuña to swap jerseys with star point guard Trae Young.
With Atlanta losing another star in free agency in back-to-back offseasons in Dansby Swanson, there is even more pressure on Acuña to go out and be the Braves’ best player. No doubt he is the most talented player on the roster, but he has yet to play at an MVP level throughout an entire campaign. His knee may never be quite the same, but he can absolutely rake and flash the leather.
Ultimately, a fully healthy Acuña batting leadoff and playing in right field will help the Braves hold serve in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. Atlanta has won the last five NL East crowns, but an NLDS exit felt grossly premature after winning their first World Series championship in 26 years the season prior. For now, Acuña at 100 percent is good for Atlanta, and bad for the NL East.
Injuries are part of the game, but Acuña is best served by sitting out the World Baseball Classic.