Major League Baseball

MLB Weekly Roundup: Ronald Acuña Jr. is a six-tool delight

April 12

By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports Baseball Analyst

The MLB season has already been a lot of fun.

And best of all, I finally was able to see some live baseball!

For the first time since Game 7 of the 2019 World Series, I was back in a baseball stadium. First I went to Anaheim to watch the Angels take on the Astros, and then I traveled to Dodger Stadium for the Dodgers’ home opener and ring ceremony.

The feeling of being back in a major league park is priceless, and with that, let’s celebrate the top items from the past week and point out some things to look forward to in the week ahead.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Dodger Stadium opened its gates to fans for the first time in more than a year Friday afternoon, and I was in attendance. My photo of the week comes from that game.

With both teams lined up and a flyover coming in the distance, this photo is one of the coolest I’ve ever seen of Dodger Stadium. I certainly had chills as this was taking place. 

SIX-TOOL PLAYER OF THE WEEK

This week’s six-tool player is Ronald Acuña, Jr.

Acuña embodies what this award is all about: enjoying playing the game of baseball. Doing sick things and reacting accordingly. Having fun!

On Friday, he did just that. He hit a towering bomb to dead center field and knew it was gone as soon as he hit it. He then stood there and admired it – like the rest of us – before starting his trot around the bases. 

TEAM OF THE WEEK

The Cincinnati Reds have come out of the gates on fire. They won six games in a row this week and have labeled themselves the "Bat flippin,' show boatin,' son of a guns." I am here for it!

They are playing the game with tons of swagger and have been an extremely fun team to watch. Nick Castellanos is leading the charge, hitting .343 with four bombs already.

This team has some big personalities on it, and if there were a six-tool team of the week, it would definitely be these guys.

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WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK

1. First Dodgers-Padres series of the year

Starting Friday, we get our first glimpse of the much anticipated matchup between these two division rivals. It’s not just the matchup itself that I’m excited about, though. As it currently lines up, Saturday’s pitching duel would feature Clayton Kershaw against Yu Darvish, and Sunday’s matchup would be Trevor Bauer against Blake Snell

2. The Boston Red Sox

After a very shaky opening series, the Red Sox have really turned things around. Coming into the season, I was higher on them than most, and they made me look bad by getting swept by the Orioles. Now, they are surging, and I will be watching them during a difficult week that includes a series at Minnesota and another at home against the White Sox.

3. Byron Buxton

Buxton already has five home runs and is continuing to emerge as a far-too-early MVP candidate. He’s batting .481 and is tied at the top of the league in homers.

I was expecting big things out of Buxton this year, and with this addition of power, I believe he could be in the running for MVP when it’s all said and done. In 2019, he hit 10 home runs, and in the shortened 2020 season, he hit 13. 

With five already this year, he is on pace to shatter his career high.

Here’s to another fantastic week of baseball.

Ben Verlander spent five years in the Detroit Tigers organization. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Verly32.


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