One of Major League Baseball’s top young stars is grateful for the opportunity to be an All-Star this season, and he knows exactly where to give the credit.
Atlanta Braves left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who’s just 21 years old, was selected to the National League All-Star team earlier this week thanks to his excellent first half of the season.
The youngster will be starting in the outfield for the NL team.
He will be the youngest Braves player to start an All-Star Game, and the eighth-youngest MLB player ever to earn that honor, according to Sports Spectrum.
And the first person Acuna made sure to praise following his selection was God.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank God for giving me the opportunity to be in my first All-Star Game,” he told MLB.com.
“Hopefully, there will be many more to follow. Thanks to all the fans for their support, to my family and to all my people from Venezuela.”
Acuna, who was last year’s National League Rookie of the Year, is shining once again.
Through 82 games this season, he’s hitting .286 with 19 home runs, 12 steals and and .868 OPS.
A leadoff hitter, he also leads league in both plate appearances (376) and at-bats (329), according to Baseball Reference.
In the NL starting outfield, Acuna will join Brewers star Christian Yelich, the 2018 NL MVP, and Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger, who at this point is probably the favorite to win the MVP award in 2019.
As ESPN noted, the trio will be the third-youngest starting outfield in All-Star Game history.
From @EliasSports, the NL starting outfield of Yelich-Bellinger-Acuña Jr. will be the third-youngest starting outfield in the history of the All-Star Game (combined age on July 9). pic.twitter.com/7TykJftAIb
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 28, 2019
Acuna, meanwhile, has never been shy about his faith.
It’s something he even discussed during his rookie season.
“Every time I take the field or even when I wake up, I have a conversation with God,” he told Sports Spectrum last September. “I feel like I always pray to him and have that relationship and I feel like he listens.”
“Your faith is what helps maintain you,” he added.
Speaking of faith, it’s something the Braves have a lot of in Acuna.
After all, they signed him to an eight-year, $100 million contract extension at the beginning of this season, according to Bleacher Report.
Through 83 games this season, the Braves stood atop the NL East with a 49-34 record.
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