Born and raised in La Guaira, Venezuela, Ronald Jose Acuna Blanco Jr. burst onto the scene after signing with the Atlanta Braves as an international free agent in July 2014.
Since making his professional baseball debut with the Gulf Coast Braves in Rookie Ball, Acuna Jr. soared through the Atlanta Braves farm system. In five minor league seasons, inclusive of the Gulf Coast Braves, Danville Braves, Rome Braves, Florida Fire Frogs, Mississippi Braves, and Gwinnett Stripers, Acuna Jr. tallied 30 home runs, 123 RBIs, and 82 stolen bases across 265 minor league games.
The budding phenom made his Major League Baseball debut on April 25, 2018, where he's arguably become the face of baseball. Across four-plus seasons at baseball's highest level, Acuna Jr. has exceeded all expectations, compiling a 162-game average of 43 home runs, 100 RBIs, 131 runs, 33 stolen bases, and a .281/.376/.548 slash line.
Acuna Jr. has evolved into the most compelling player in The Show, evidenced by the value of his rookie cards from his 2018 rookie campaign. Having said that, let's call our attention to the top 10 best Ronald Acuna Jr. rookie cards.
2018 Topps Chrome Ronald Acuna Jr. 1983 Topps Autographs RC #83TA-RA #'d/50
Recent sale: $2,250
2018 Topps Chrome was distributed in hobby and hobby jumbo boxes on August 1, 2018. Hobby boxes consisted of 24 packs of four cards and offered two autographed cards, while hobby jumbo boxes contain 12 packs of 13 cards that yields five autographed cards. Ronald Acuna Jr.'s 10th most valuable rookie card and the second most coveted from 2018 Topps Chrome appears in the 1983 Topps checklist. Acuna's 1983 Topps Orange Refractor rookie card is limited to 50 copies and is the third least graded card on the list. Of the 14 Acuna's Orange Refractor rookie cards in PSA's population report, seven attained a PSA 10. When examining Beckett's population report, eight of Acuna's cards have been graded, though none warranted higher than a BGS 9.5.
On July 2, 2014, the 16-year-old signed with the Atlanta Braves as an international free agent for $100,000. After bypassing the Dominican Summer League, Acuna made his professional baseball debut with the Gulf Coast Braves in the Gulf Coast League. After recording 31 hits in 37 games, including three home runs and 11 RBIs while amassing 11 stolen bases, the Braves promoted Acuna to the Danville Braves in the Appalachian League. Across games for Danville, Acuna tallied 20 hits in just 18 games while registering a .290/.388/.464 slash line.
This particular card received a BGS 9.5 for corners, edges, and surface while receiving a BGS 9 for centering, warranting a BGS 9.5 overall, indicating the loftiest grade and most desirable Ronald Acuna Jr. Orange Refractor rookie card in the 1983 Topps checklist from 2018 Topps Chrome.
2018 Topps Chrome Update Edition Ronald Acuna Jr. Autographs X-Fractor RC #HMT-25 #'d/125
Recent sale: $3,049
Ronald Acuna Jr.'s ensuing best rookie card materialized from the Target-exclusive 2018 Topps Chrome Update Edition, which became available on October 31, 2018. The 2018 Topps Update Edition features seven Mega Boxes, containing four cards in each box. Acuna Jr.'s most desirable rookie card from the set is none other than his autographed X-Fractor rookie card, bearing a 125-card print run. Acuna's X-Fractor rookie card holds a PSA population of 53, 37 of which earned a PSA 10, while the same card has a BGS population of 26, with just four warranting a BGS 10. Overall, collectors have deserved a PSA or BGS 10 at a 52% clip for Acuna Jr.'s autographed X-Fractor rookie card, illustrating his least condition-sensitive card on the list.
Ronald Acuna Jr. spent the 2016 season between Rookie ball with the Gulf Coast Braves in the Gulf Coast League and Single-A with the Rome Braves in the South Atlantic League. Across 42 games, Ronald Acuna Jr. compiled 48 hits while tallying four home runs, 19 RBIs, and slashed .312/.392/.429. Acuna added 14 stolen bases for good measure.
Although collectors have fared well in earning a high grade for Ronald Acuna Jr.'s autographed X-Fractor rookie card, it endures as the most sought-after card from the 2018 Topps Chrome Update Edition.
2018 Bowman's Best Ronald Acuna Jr. Best of 2018 Autographs Atomic RC #B18-RA #'d/25
Recent sale: $3,999
Issued to collectors on December 21, 2018, the 2018 Bowman's Best set features the finest players in the majors, along with the top rookies and MLB prospects, illustrated by MLB phenoms Fernando Tatis Jr. and Ronald Acuna Jr. on the cover of each hobby box. Collectors can expect two mini boxes, comprised of six packs per mini-box bearing five cards per pack. Acuna Jr.'s highly sought-after rookie card from the set arises from the Best of 2018 checklist, featuring the most desirable autographed rookie cards from 2018 Bowman's Best. Ronald Acuna Jr.'s Atomic Refractor rookie card highlights his on-card autograph, serial-numbered to 25 copies, tied for his second-most limited card on the list. Since its release, Ronald Acuna Jr.'s Atomic Refractor rookie card has been graded on 14 occasions, seven of which warranted a PSA or BGS 10.
At the end of Acuna's 2016 season, he competed for the Melbourne Aces in the Australian Baseball league (ABL). Ronald Acuna Jr. tallied 27 hits in a mere 20 games for the Aces, including two home runs, five triples, and one double. Acuna slashed .375/.446/.556 for the Aces and swiped 13 bases.
Although Ronald Acuna Jr. only played 20 games for the Aces, he posted a 1.001 OPS and was named an ABL All-Star. At this point, Ronald Acuna was considered one of the best prospects in baseball, and the value of his Atomic Refractor rookie card from 2018 Bowman's Best is proof of that.
2018 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition Ronald Acuna Jr. Rookie Autographs RC #RC-RA
Recent sale: $4,075
The following two best Ronald Acuna Jr. rookie cards are both from the 2018 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition, integrating a unique spin from Series 1 and Series 2 of Topps' 2018 flagship product. 2018 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition was released on October 18, 2018, solely through Topps' website. The highly coveted set features 106 cards, 100 of which are base cards, three autographed rookie cards, and three base parallels. Acuna's autographed rookie card is graded a PSA 10, one of 37 cards to warrant PSA's loftiest grade.
Acuna started his 2017 campaign in High-A with the Florida Fire Frogs in the Florida State League. He tallied 33 hits across merely 28 games for the Fire Frogs, including three home runs, three doubles, and five triples. Acuna's slash line with the Fire Frogs was .287/.336/.478, and he added 14 stolen bases for good measure. As such, the Braves promoted Acuna to Double-A while competing with the Mississippi Braves in the Southern League. Acuna spent the next 57 games of his 2017 season with the Mississippi Braves, where he tallied nine home runs and 30 RBIs while slashing .326/.375/.520. He was then promoted to Triple-A, competing with the Gwinnett Braves in the International League. Acuna turned heads with the Gwinnett Braves, recording nine home runs and 33 RBIs while slashing .344/.393/.548.
Acuna concluded his 2017 minor league season with 21 home runs, 82 RBIs, and 44 stolen bases across 139 games while recording a ridiculous .325/.374/.522 slash line. Although Ronald Acuna Jr.'s autographed rookie card holds one of the highest populations and isn't serial-numbered, it maintains its value by enduring as one of his most condition-sensitive cards.
2018 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition Ronald Acuna Jr. RC #698
Recent sale: $4,101
Ronald Acuna Jr.'s most valuable rookie card from the 2018 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition is his super short print from the iconic set. This distinctive Acuna SSP rookie card is graded a BGS 9.5 and dubbed his bat down card. Acuna's SSP is his most heavily graded card on the list, holding a PSA population of 151 and a BGS population of 120. Of the 151 cards graded by PSA, 103 welcomed a PSA 10, roughly a 68% clip. On the contrary, only 15, or 12.5% of Acuna's SSP rookie cards from the 2018 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition were deserving of a BGS 10.
After his remarkable performance in the 2017 minor league system, Acuna competed in the Arizona Fall League for the Peoria Javelinas in October and November of 2017. In just 23 contests, Acuna tallied seven home runs and 16 RBIs and slashed an otherworldly .325/.414/.639 slash line. To top it off, he also recorded a surreal 1.053 OPS.
Ronald Acuna Jr. excelled through the Atlanta Braves minor league system since making his professional debut in 2015. It was only a matter of time before the club had no choice but to promote the budding superstar. Considering that Ronald Acuna's SSP rookie card 2018 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition is graded a BGS 9.5 ensures the unprecedented value that a BGS 10 would command.
2018 Panini Flawless Ronald Acuna Jr. Rookie Dual Patch Autographs Sapphire RC #RDP-RAJ #'d/15
Recent sale: $4,950
Issued on October 28, 2018, 2018 Panini Flawless is an 85-card set that presents collectors with one pack of 10 cards, showcasing seven autographed cards, two memorabilia cards, and one jewel card. As of writing, Ronald Acuna Jr.'s most noteworthy rookie card from 2018 Panini Flawless is his Rookie Dual Patch Autographs Sapphire rookie card. Acuna's RPA is limited to just 15 copies, making it the scarcest card on the list. Since the release of 2018 Panini Flawless, only four copies of Acuna's Sapphire RPA have emerged, one graded by PSA and three graded by BGS. It's important to note that none of the four cards received a PSA or BGS 10. The highest PSA grade awarded is a PSA 9, and the highest BGS grade received is a BGS 9.5.
Ronald Acuna Jr. began the 2018 season with the Gwinnett Stripers, recording one home run, three RBIs, and five stolen bases through the club's first 23 games. On April 25, 2018, Ronald Acuna Jr. was promoted to The Show. In his major league debut, Acuna started in left field and batted 6th. In the top of the 8th inning, Ronald Acuna Jr. recorded his first major league hit off Cincinnati Reds' Kevin Shackelford. The following day, Ronald Acuna Jr. recorded the first home run of his career.
Across 111 games in the 2018 MLB season, Ronald Acuna Jr. tallied 26 home runs and 64 RBIs while slashing .293/.366/.552. In his rookie season, Acuna also amassed 26 doubles, four triples, and 16 stolen bases. Ronald Acuna Jr. received 27 of the 30 first-place votes for the National League Rookie of the Year, capturing the honor over Juan Soto and Walker Buehler. The price of Ronald Acuna Jr.'s Rookie Dual Patch Autographs Sapphire rookie card from 2018 Panini Flawless will only increase as it sits as the least graded card on the list and the only card yet to obtain a PSA or BGS 10.
2018 Topps Update Ronald Acuna Jr. Horizontal Coming off Field SSP Variation RC #US250
Recent sale: $5,002
On October 22, 2018, the 2018 Topps Update set was released in hobby and hobby jumbo boxes, featuring a 300-card checklist. Baseball card collectors can anticipate 36 packs of 10 cards in hobby boxes and 10 packs of 50 cards in hobby jumbo boxes. A hobby box break yields one autographed or relic card and three Rainbow Foil parallels, while a hobby jumbo box contains one autographed card and two relic cards. The most desirable Ronald Acuna Jr. rookie card from 2018 Topps Update is his Horizontal SSP variation showcasing Acuna coming off the field. Acuna's SSP rookie card is the third most accessible card, holding an overall population of 148 between PSA and BGS. Despite that fact, 54 cards, or 36%, were deserving of a PSA 10, while a BGS 10 has yet to be awarded.
On April 2, 2019, the Atlanta Braves signed Ronald Acuna Jr. to an eight-year, $100 million contract, becoming the youngest player in league history to receive a contract that surpassed $100 million. In his sophomore campaign, Acuna guided the Atlanta Braves to a 97-65 record, finishing first in the National League East. Through his first full MLB season, Acuna recorded 42 home runs, 101 RBIs, and slashed .280/.365/.518 across 156 games. Acuna's 42 home runs were the 5th most in the National League and 7th most in the league. He also tallied more runs (127) than any other player in the league and led the National League with the most stolen bases (37).
In 2019, Ronald Acuna was selected to his first MLB All-Star Game and received his first Silver Slugger Award. Acuna was also nominated to the All-MLB Second Team and became one of 43 players to attain the 30-30 club, recording 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Acuna also finished 5th in the National League MVP voting. All things considered, Ronald Acuna became the face of Major League Baseball, rendering his condition sensitive SSP rookie card from 2018 Topps Update to be one of his best rookie cards.
2018 Topps Heritage Ronald Acuna Jr. Chrome Black Refractor RC #THC-580 #'d/69
Recent sale: $5,799
The 2018 Topps Heritage set pays homage to 1969 Topps, which yielded Reggie Jackson's iconic rookie card. 2018 Topps Heritage features a 725-card checklist, with the first 500 cards emerging from the Heritage line on February 28, 2018, and the final 250 cards issued in the High Number Series on September 14, 2018. Topps distributed the 2018 Heritage set in hobby, retail, blaster, and hanger boxes, in addition to jumbo and rack packs. Ronald Acuna Jr.'s Chrome Black Refractor rookie card is his most coveted from 2018 Topps Heritage and his third most valuable list. Acuna's Chrome Black Refractor rookie is serial-numbered to 69 copies, with 43 cards surfacing and 22 meriting a PSA or BGS 10.
In the pandemic-shortened 60-game 2020 MLB season, Ronald Acuna led the Atlanta Braves to a 35-25 record, capturing the National League East for the third consecutive season. The Braves defeated the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Wild Card Series and the Miami Marlins in the National League Division Series before falling to the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. Through 46 games in the 2020 season, Ronald Acuna Jr. registered 14 home runs, 29 RBIs, and eight stolen bases.
Ronald Acuna Jr. captured the Silver Slugger Award and was voted to the All-MLB Second Team for the second consecutive year. He also finished 12th in the National League MVP voting. Ronald Acuna's Chrome Black Refractor rookie card is one of 22 cards that warranted a PSA 10, though none of his 14 cards graded by Beckett earned higher than a BGS 9.5. As such, one can only imagine what Acuna's Chrome Black Refractor card would fetch bearing a BGS 10.
2018 Topps Chrome Ronald Acuna Jr. Rookie Autographs Gold Wave Refractor RC #RA-RA #'d/50
Recent sale: $8,025
The generational talents' most desirable rookie card from 2018 Topps Chrome is also his second most expensive rookie card. Acuna Jr.'s Gold Wave Refractor rookie card is present in the Rookie Autographs checklist, highlighting the most promising rookies in baseball. Acuna's Rookie Autographs Red Wave Refractor rookie card has a print run of 50, with collectors submitting 42 for grading at PSA and BGS. PSA and Beckett have each graded 21 copies of Acuna's Rookie Autographed Red Wave Refractor rookie card, though collectors have fared better via PSA, as 15 of the 21 cards merited a PSA 10, while only two of the 21 cards graded by Beckett were deserving of a BGS 10.
Ronald Acuna Jr. was in the midst of an MVP run during the 2021 MLB season, recording 24 home runs, 52 RBIs, 17 stolen bases, and a .283/.394/.596 slash line through his first 82 games. Unfortunately for Acuna and baseball fans everywhere, he suffered an ACL injury while fielding a flyball at LoanDepot Park versus the Miami Marlins on July 10, 2021, effectively ending his 2021 campaign. Ronald Acuna was voted to his second career All-Star Game, although he was unable to compete due to an ACL tear.
While Acuna sat out the second half of the 2021 season, he helped the Braves capture their 4th consecutive National League East division title, where they went on to their first World Series title since the 1995 season. As one of his most condition-sensitive cards on the list, Ronald Acuna's Rookie Autographs Red Wave Refractor rookie card offers unparalleled value.
2018 Bowman Chrome Ronald Acuna Jr. Chrome Rookie Autographs Orange Refractor RC #BCRA-RA #'d/25
Recent sale: $10,100
Without further ado, the best Ronald Acuna Jr. rookie card and most valuable is his Chrome Rookie Autographs Orange Refractor rookie card from 2018 Bowman Chrome. The September 26, 2018 release of the 2018 Bowman Chrome set highlights a 100-card base set and a 100-card prospects set, issued in hobby and HTA Choice boxes. 2018 Bowman Chrome hobby boxes contain 12 packs of five cards, including two autographed cards, one Chrome Prospect Shimmer parallel, and one Bowman Sterling Continuity insert. In contrast, HTA Choice boxes emphasize one pack of three cards, showcasing three autographed cards. With that said, collectors can unearth Ronald Acuna's Chrome Autographs Orange Refractor rookie cards strictly in hobby boxes. Acuna's Orange Refractor rookie card is one of five cards to earn a PSA 10, with just one card meriting a BGS 10.
Ronald Acuna's ACL injury kept the phenom off the field for nearly 10 months, including the first month of the 2022 MLB season. Since his return to the Atlanta Braves lineup, Acuna has reached base safely in all 11 games. In his first 46 plate appearances, Acuna has recorded two home runs, five RBIs, and five stolen bases while slashing .282/.391/.487.
The Atlanta Braves and baseball fans have highly missed the MLB superstar, who's arguably the most electrifying player in the league. Acuna's Chrome Autographs Orange Refractor rookie card from 2018 Bowman Chrome is one of his most-condition sensitive rookie cards on the list, behind only his Rookie Dual Patch Autographs Sapphire rookie card from 2018 Panini Flawless, ensuring the card's long-term value.
The Impact of Ronald Acuna Jr. is Second to None
Through his first 405 career MLB games, Ronald Acuna Jr. sits among MLB's leaders in average exit velocity, maximum exit velocity, and sprint speed, per Statcast. Acuna Jr.'s five-tool baseball talents can carry the Atlanta Braves on any given night as they seek their fifth consecutive National League East division title, where they've finished atop the division since Acuna debuted in the 2018 season.
As of writing, the Atlanta Braves have the 2nd highest odds to win the NL East (+260), 4th highest to capture the National League pennant (+700), and the 7th highest odds to capture their second-consecutive World Series championship (+1500). Despite missing the first month of the 2022 campaign, Ronald Acuna Jr. possesses the 4th highest odds to take home the National League Most Valuable Player award.
Needless to say, Ronald Acuna Jr. is a sensational talent and is must-watch TV each time he steps onto the baseball diamond. In light of this, Ronald Acuna Jr. is the most sought-after player by baseball card collectors, resulting in the significance and innate value of his rookie cards.