With grand slam, Braves' Acuña records MLB's 1st-ever 30-60 season

August 31, 2023, 11:19 PM

LOS ANGELES -- Ronald Acuña Jr. flipped his bat and beat his chest, reveling in the silence of a stunned opposing crowd. His second-inning grand slam from Dodger Stadium on Thursday night had extended the Atlanta Braves' early lead against the only team that comes close to matching their dominance within the National League.

It also brought him to history in emphatic fashion.

Acuña's latest homer, off Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Lance Lynn, made him the first player in baseball history to amass at least 30 home runs and 60 stolen bases in a single season. He did it on the final day of August, with an entire month still ahead of him. And he did it while squaring off against Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, the two men challenging him for the NL MVP Award.

Acuña might have some catching up to do.

The Braves' 25-year-old right fielder, with 6.5 FanGraphs wins above replacement, was third-highest in the NL. Betts (7.5) and Freeman (6.8) ranked slightly ahead of him thanks to scorching August production that matched the success of a Dodgers team that won 24 of its first 28 games in the month. But Acuña finished the highly anticipated four-game weekend series from Dodger Stadium leading the majors in on-base percentage (.419), steals (62), hits (181) and runs scored (120). Betts raised the stakes further by homering twice for the Dodgers in the series opener, won by the Braves  8-7.

Acuña finished 3-for-4 with two singles, an intentional walk and his 62nd stolen base to go with the home run in Atlanta's win.

Acuña now has 150 home runs for his career, making him the second player in major league history to record 150 homers and 150 steals at age 25 or younger. 

The only other player to do that was Mike Trout.

Rickey Henderson came close to being the first 30-60 player. He had 28 homers and 87 steals in 1986 with the New York Yankees, then 28 homers and 65 steals when he won MVP with Oakland in 1990.

Two players are in the 30-50 club: Eric Davis had 37 homers and 50 steals in 1987, and Barry Bonds had 33 homers and 52 steals in 1990, when he won his first of seven MVPs. Davis also had 27 homers and 80 steals in 1986, joining Henderson as the only members of the 20-80 club.

No one has had 40 homers and 50 steals in a season. There have been four 40-40 players: Jose Canseco in 1988, Bonds in 1996, Alex Rodriguez in 1998 and Alfonso Soriano in 2006.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.