Baker’s Dozen: Tipping Our Hats To The D1’s Hottest Hitters (Part 1)

Savigny’s Jacques Boucheron hits with power and consistency (Credit: B. Witte)

The regular phase of France’s D1 baseball league came to an end Sunday, setting the stage for the playoffs, starting next weekend, when the top-seeded Sénart Templiers take on the Savigny Lions, and the defending champion Rouen Huskies face the Barracudas in Montpellier.

Elsewhere, a trio of playdown series are already underway to determine the league’s final standings and decide which four, of the six participating teams, will join the above-mentioned semifinalists in next year’s Challenge de France.

But before turning our attention to all of that, Le Baseblog wants to take a moment to acknowledge some of the offensive standouts from this year’s regular season, including a handful of players who finished with batting averages above .400.

A quick caveat: The following list isn’t meant to be a ranking of any kind. The 13 players selected appear in alphabetical order (based on last names). Also, apologies to the deserving players — several come to mind — who didn’t make the list. Your accomplishments don’t go unnoticed.

Okay, on with the list… [1-4]

Ivan Acuña — Savigny Lions

Acuña has delivered since arriving in France (Credit: B. Witte)

After taking the D1 by storm in 2019, his first season in the French league, catcher Ivan Acuña continues to be one of the league’s biggest offensive threats.

His batting average (.313) is down compared to the sizzling .409 he slashed two years ago, but in 14 games played, the former Winston-Salem State University standout led the loaded Savigny lineup in home runs (2), RBIs (16), walks (15) and runs scored (17).

As the hot-hotting Venezuelan reminded everyone in the recent Challenge de France, Acuña can bust out at any time. He batted a ridiculous .600, collecting nine hits (including five doubles and a triple) in 15 at bats en route to winning the tournament’s “best offensive player” award.

Alfredo Angarita — Savigny Lions

The switch-hitter leads the D1 with a .465 average (Credit: B. Witte)

Speaking to Le Baseblog back in March, Acuña predicted that his future Savigny teammate and fellow Venezuelan Alfredo Angarita would “let his game speak for itself.”

The speedy infielder, a newcomer to the D1 this year, has done that and more, hitting an out-of-this-world .465 — tops in the league among players with at least 40 at bats — to go along with 20 hits (tied for second on the team) and 11 RBIs.

The switch-hitting Angarita, a former Houston Astros prospect, also posted the team’s highest slugging percentage (.581), was tied for second in walks (14) and struck out just four times all season.

Jacques Boucheron — Savigny Lions

Boucheron adds strength and experience to Savigny’s lineup (Credit: B. Witte)

A softball star as well as a veteran of France’s national baseball team, Jacques Boucheron has a knack for consistency.

In 2019, the last time France had a proper D1 season, he was named the league’s top offensive player after hitting .397 in 116 at bats with 46 hits and 20 RBIs. So far this year Boucheron is producing at an almost identical clip: .377 in 53 at bats with 20 hits and 13 RBIs.

The 29-year-old from New Caledonia also has 16 runs, second on the team behind Acuña, four doubles, and a home run, which he hit the opening weekend of the season against the defending D1 champion Rouen Huskies.

Louis Brainville — Rouen Huskies

Brainville has been Rouen’s top hitter this season (Credit: B. Witte)

Speaking of the Huskies, our next player in the list, Louis Brainville, is one of the big reasons the Rouen squad finished first in the league’s A pool (ahead of Savigny) and is back in the hunt for a D1 title.

Just 19 years old, he nevertheless leads the Huskies in average (.373), hits (19) and RBIs (11), and was recently rewarded for his efforts with a call-up to the French national team.

During the group’s run in the European Baseball Championships in Northern Italy, Brainville collected five hits in six games, second on the team behind Andy Paz, who had eight. 

To be continued…

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