MLB Betting: Will Ronald Acuna Jr. Pull Off a 40-40 Season?

Scott Edwards Jr.
Scott Edwards Jr.@ScottEdwardsJr
MLB Betting: Will Ronald Acuna Jr. Pull Off a 40-40 Season?

It feels like some history is being made in Major League Baseball all the time these days, and more could be on the horizon this season.

We already know Shohei Ohtani is chasing history every night, but Ronald Acuna is chasing some history of his own right now.

The Atlanta Braves' dynamic outfielder has been sensational this campaign and has a 40-homer, 40-steal season in sight.

Will Acuna become the fifth player in history to achieve such a feat? Let's take a look.

All MLB odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook

History of the 40-40 Club

The 40-40 season is an elite club that features players who have managed to record 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in the same season. Only four players in the history of the game have ever done it.

The first to do so was Jose Canseco in 1988 -- when he hit 42 home runs and swiped 40 bags. The second player on the list -- and this shouldn't be too shocking -- is Barry Bonds. In 1996, Bonds had the same stat line as Canseco did (42-40).

Alex Rodriguez did it two years later in 1998, tallying 42 home runs and 46 stolen bases. And the final player to do it was Alfonso Soriano in 2006 -- when he smashed 46 home runs and stole 41 bases.

There have been a number of near misses, with the likes of Matt Kemp coming within one home run of joining the club in 2011. Acuna nearly got into the club with a 41-homer, 37-steal season in 2019. He has a chance to reach that level this year.

Ronald Acuna's 40-40 Odds

FanDuel Sportsbook Odds

  • Yes: -102
  • No: -125

Acuna has had an outstanding season through 85 games. His numbers are out of this world as a .337 batting average and .429 weighted on-base average (wOBA) really do highlight how amazing he's been. But for this bet, the only statistics that matter are his home runs and stolen bases as he approaches the potential 40-40 season.

With the betting odds being so close, it all comes down to home runs for Acuna as he already -- impressively -- has the stolen bases completed. The Braves' outfielder has 41 steals to go along with his 21 home runs on the year. So the question is this: can Acuna maintain the pace and reach the 40-homer mark for the second time in his career?

He's already well on his way to having the best season of his career, but he will need to hit 19 home runs in the remaining 77 games to make history. Acuna has played in every game so far, but there's a chance he misses some games toward the end of the year if Atlanta wants to give him a rest ahead of the playoffs. Atlanta currently boasts the best record in baseball at 57-28, holding a comfortable 6.0-game lead in the NL East. They'll likely be in a position to rest some of their players if they want to.

The numbers worth paying attention to are Acuna's hard-hit rate and fly-ball rate. Acuna has not-so-surprisingly been driving the ball hard this season, notching a 44.4% hard-hit rate, while his fly-ball rate is actually the lowest of his career at 30.8%. He's got a 23.1% home-run-to-fly-ball ratio, so while he doesn't hit a lot of fly-balls, he's making the most of the ones he does hit. Acuna is coming off a month of June where he hit more home runs than anyone else (nine), so this could very well be him getting ready for lift-off when it comes to driving more balls out of the ballpark.

At -102 odds that he does make history and -125 that he doesn't, this projects to be a close call. He'll need to stay healthy and keep performing at an incredible level.

Acuna has arguably been the best hitter in baseball this season and is a vital cog in the best lineup in the league. If there was ever a player to bet on getting a 40-40 season, Acuna sure looks like the best guy for the job. Given the way Acuna has driven the ball this season, it's possible those nine home runs in July are a sign of things to come.

For what it's worth, Steamer projects Acuna to fall just shy of a 40-homer season, forecasting him to hit 17 more homers, which would amount to 38 total. ZiPS has him at 16 more jacks.

The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.