A perennial All-Star finally has an MVP to his name.
Ronald Acuña Jr. won his first NL MVP Award of his career, thanks to rewriting the history books. It was a unanimous vote.
The Atlanta Braves outfielder invented an exclusive club while leading the major leagues with 217 hits as part of a 104-win team that won the NL East for the sixth consecutive year.
No other player in league history had hit 40 home runs while stealing 50 bases entering this season. Acuña took it to another level during the 2023 season, mashing 41 homers and stealing not 50, not 60, but 73 bases, taking advantage of the larger bags this year.
Acuña also led the majors with 149 runs scored, 383 total bases, and a .416 on-base percentage, while his 1.012 OPS led the National League (third in MLB). He also hit .337, the second-best mark in the majors.
One could argue there’s some controversy, though – his 8.2 WAR was third in baseball, which is obviously nothing to scoff at. However, he placed behind now two-time AL MVP Shohei Ohtani (10.0) and Mookie Betts (8.3).
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The 25-year-old outfielder was named an All-Star for the fourth-straight time (outside 2020 in which there was no midsummer classic) and took his third Silver Slugger Award. His 106 RBI were a career-high.
Acuña’s previous best finish in the voting had been his fifth-place finish in 2019, just his second season in the majors. He certainly would have been in the race in 2021 had he not torn his ACL in his 82nd game of the season.
He was limited to 119 games last year while still recovering from that injury, and he slashed just .266/.351/.413, all career-lows. But everyone knows a fully healthy Acuña does damage.
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Acuña’s former teammate, Freddie Freeman, now a teammate of Betts with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was also in the running.
Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.